Research wasn’t like this when I was a lass

Me by Rembrandt

Today I am feeling a little Lazarus-like thanks to antibiotics. But still happily confined to bed, where I have been engaging in research for novel #2. I am a sort of after the event researcher – I like to write unhindered by mere fact. It’s only after I make something up that I want to go and check if it’s actually true. It can be annoying if it isn’t, but that’s the great thing about fiction-writing. You can change it.

Of course, as a writer you go about with your eyes, ears, nose, hands and imagination open all the time, and you probably carry a notebook with you. I do now (A5 Moleskine, of course), because I realise that things often escape me if I don’t write them down. I rarely refer to the notebook. If it’s in there, it’s in my brain. I also notice how my daydreams go, how parts of my body are affected by, say, smell. The whole kinaesthetic thing. That’s quite useful for storytelling.

But I have had fun with the specific research for novel #2. I have, for example:

  • Had tea with a movie star
  • Taken Youngson to New York for two weeks. Yes, it was bona fide research, Mr Taxman
  • Read books, both academic and schlocky, about stalkers
  • Had lengthy correspondence with New York Criminal Lawyers
  • Listened to Morrissey until my ears bleed.

And today I lay a-bed and read Macbeth, then I watched an extremely odd and rather sweetly moving documentary about stalkers, called I Think We’re Alone Now by Sean Donnelly. I topped the day off with Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, the most perfect film study of fame-acquired narcissistic personality disorder ever (and fantastically useful to me, as it happened). When I turn 50, I’m going to have a Norma Desmond party. What frocks!

So, all that ‘field work’ done, I’ll be ready for the postponed-by-illness readthrough of the first draft on Monday.  Can’t wait. I’ve got all my index cards and marker pens.

3 thoughts on “Research wasn’t like this when I was a lass

  1. Yes, she is and she was, I think, referring to journalism, but I was taking ‘artistic’ licence. She has written fiction too, successfully. Her teen novel ‘Sugar Rush’ was adapted for the television.

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