Sunday, April 05, 2009

The importance of good research

Last week was incredibly productive but not in the way I had expected. Thanks to the mindless bubble popping game I had found the solution to Kelli's identity,as well as a flicker of insight into DNA sequencing. It should have been a simple case of sitting down and writing what I knew.

For some unfathomable reason, Kelli's name was still giving me trouble. A quick email to Jon revealed the problem. Women's nicknames don't end with an "i" but rather an "a". That stopped me cold. He sent me a great link with Icelandic female names that led me to Brynja -which means armor. As her name was changed to protect her, that works. I've spent the last couple of days thinking of Kelli as Brynja.

In the meantime, I spent some time online researching airfare to Iceland. It's an essential scene in Sturla's Sweater. How does Callie decide that they should begin that journey? August has the best deals if anyone is interested. I have to watch Wrath of Gods again soon as that film precipitates the entire story. The opening scene involves that film, a bottle of wine and two life-long friends.

I'm not quite ready to go forward with Rootless Trees. Jon's input made me realize how much we depend on intrinsic knowledge to flesh out our writing. This book has two unfamiliar settings, Iceland and North Carolina. While I'm blessed to have friends who live in both locations, I've never personally walked the ground at either one. There are bound to be mistakes that have the potential to rip the reader out of the book.

That explains why Sturla's Sweater is progressing better. A large chunk of it takes place in surroundings with which I am familiar. The research I have to do is similar to the process one of the characters will go through so it's actually a part of the storyline. It's easier. Not to say it's without its own set of challenges. It does require some footwork in Iceland as well. And some quality time with sheep. But at least I won't blunder character names. Or have to worry about a hard science like genetics. You know that's going to take some serious research.

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