Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Matter of Research ~ @oddlynn3 #rndrobin0321 #LynnCrain #AWriterInVienna

Hi everyone!

And welcome to A Writer In Vienna. If you’ve never been here before, pull up a chair and look around. I’ve lived in Vienna, Austria four years and am trying to share that experience with others.

Today’s topic is all about research. Every story, no matter what genre deals with research. I was asked the following questions: What type of research have you had to do? Does it bother you when you read something happening in a story that is inaccurate historically, socially, scientifically, etc.?

Here’s my answer: All story genres take some research for establishing details in the setting. It really doesn’t matter what genre one writes in, everyone needs to do some research. When I was writing my award-winning story, The Haunting of Maggie Grey, I had to figure out just how a woman doctor would survive in Scotland on the Isle of Skye. Even before that, I had to figure out if there were even women doctors available to that area during the 1880s-1890s since I wasn’t sure. Happily, I found there was a plethora of women who went into the profession and offered their services to the underprivileged of the time. I even had to do research of veterinary medicine as the hero was a vet and again, I didn’t know if that was even possible. Apparently, I got it right as that story has won some ebook awards in its time.

However, if I wasn’t doing a historic setting, I’d still have to do the research. In my completed book called Loving the Scotsman, I’m again back in Scotland. In that book, I draw on my time visiting there as the setting is contemporary. I look at the places I’d been and even made up some fictional ones to fit the mood and event. I knew enough from being there, my current time research and even emailing people I knew there to make sure everything was accurate or plausible. This story is currently with an agent and I’m hopeful that it will go the rounds at NYC very soon.

I even take Scotland one step further. In my WIP, I again go back to Skye with A Wizard in Skye. This is a story about a futuristic female cop who is pulled into a wizard’s prison by some evil magic. She doesn’t believe in magic. Here I use my husband’s family clan as the backdrop, The MacLeods, and their legend of The Fairy Flag. There are many things written about that little piece of cloth and if I get one wrong, it will be a sad day. So weaving legend with the future has been a fun thing to do. The research here is quite different because I have to keep the Fairy Flag legend intact, layer some of my own interpretation and then draw in a futuristic world of my own making. It all has to be seamless and plausible at the same time.

As far as how I do research, sometimes it just takes me reading a few articles, taking a few notes then making my own decisions on what I’ll use and how I use it. Other times, like one of my current bigger projects, every story will need some major research into the science, the legends and just how it will all mesh together.

Frankly, if I run across stories where the research is poorly done, I will not pick up that author again unless I feel there were reasons for the inaccuracies. For instance, if a story is all about an alternative timeline to our own history, of course, things will be different…may be slightly…may be a lot. It would all depend upon the author’s vision. However, if it is a historic event and they are presenting it as such, I just might write that author and point it out, it would all depend. However, I tend to be a little more lenient about social and scientific things because those can be an interpretation versus an actual fact difference. Most of the items that writers skew to fit their stories are social or scientific. Basically, I know how I see something isn’t the way another does. Yet, if someone tries to disprove a science tenant such as the law of physics, I’d be hard pressed to take them seriously.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into my research methods. Thanks for being supportive of us during our round robins. We love when you visit us and tell us what you think.

Don’t forget to go to each of the authors in the list below. Each of them is a very different look into how they do research and what they think. Again, thanks for joining us…see you next time.


T Margaret Fieland at
T Beverley Bateman at
T Skye Taylor at
T Kay Sisk at
T Fiona McGier at
T A.J. Maguire at
T Judith Copek
T Rhobin Courtright at