March 5, 2009

Research, Schmesearch

I love writing, but to do it well it comes with a lot of strings attached. Research may be one of the biggest provisos of the bunch. Now, it's not that I hate learning. Far from it. It's just that it can have an insidious way of throwing a monkey-wrench in my initial plans for a story. That, and I was never a big fan of homework when I went to school. It's simply a necessary evil, in my view.

What helps a lot, I find, is when I come across resources that are more accessible and reader (or viewer) friendly than your run of the mill textbook. I've read a few books on writing, thanks in large part to the Writer's Digest Book Club, but the one that's helped me the most thus far has been one I found in a used book store (my favorite kind of book store, by the way) by Stephen King titled, "On Writing."

The book is less a how-to than it is a testimonial/confessional on the craft. There isn't anything specific on handling research more efficiently, but the book has allowed me to view writing with a healthy mix of joy and reverence. And, that's been the most valuable piece of information I've accumulated yet. Encyclopedias, journals, and handbooks be damned.

Actually, I need to get some more research done this week for future reference with some story ideas. I need to study up a little on bounty hunting, the Halifax Explosion, search and rescue procedures, and comas. I can just imagine if I threw all those tidbits into a single story.

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