The Impact of Research For Your Writing, And You
If you are like the rest of us you are attracted to interesting people, just as you are to a movie or book. People don’t necessarily stop to evaluate why that is. Of the many reasons we can narrow it down to this : we are not interested in someone who is dull and boring. They must be interesting in some way-or many ways. The same is true of writing. Readers are interested in detail.
A person is interesting due to the things they’ve done, places they’ve been,what they know. No matter the age it takes a lifetime to acquire those qualities. As a child you didn’t what you know now. The same is true of reading, and writing. They matures as we do. Our interest level changes. It determines why we gravitate to a book cover, and then a book. Those features determine interest just as an attractive person draws us in. But after that initial attraction there must be more to surface appeal. Anything you write must have detail, , information, and interest. Unless a writer is a walking dictionary, lifetime scholar, or a major bluffer, the writer must acquire life experience, schooling, and continued self-education in the form of research. The reader knows when you are bluffing, and why would they waste time when they could be learning how the Dalai Lama was able to get away from the Chinese and go into exile?
A writer would not expound on the marvels of a Kiwi fruit unless he has ,at least tasted it. But his essay flops if he stops at ‘Kiwi fruit is really good’. This does not inspire the reader to run to the store. The details that excites the mind and the mouth are what is tastes like, how can you use in a salad, how many calories, and so forth. Your subject and the million details to can find about it keep your reader turning the pages. You engage your reader with pictures in his mind. Writing a romance story? One can only write flowery emotion just so long before dullness lays they book down after boredom sets in. But what does your character know? Maybe the romantic male lead shucks oysters for a living. That has to be dull. But does he go on the boat too? Has he ever found a pearl? Now you have opened a world up for your character and your reader. They will be turning those pages to see what happens in this romance, now that they are invested and informed. They know more than they did-and so do you, and so you will every time you research.
The more research you do takes you into a world where you begin to see your characters tell you where they want the story to go. They provide the interest and excitement. You will see your readers glued to each page, and you will be too , as you follow your characters in the travels you have made possible. This is the excitement and delight of writing and you are along for the ride. there is no instance of writers block because the world out there is at your fingertips. You now have a canvas , and you are the artist painting a picture with your paintbrush. I once taught a Girls club group of girls eight and nine years old. I was showing them to write what they felt. They were looking a pictures and writing. One little girl wrote a poem while she was looking at animal pictures. The line she came up with is ‘When we kiss I hear a snake hiss.” I can’t think of any better example than that of how stimulating it is to look outside yourself as well as drawing on your inner abilities.
The only problem you will encounter is how much research is too much. At what point is your effort an encyclopedia that loses the human touch? That is too much information, and not enough plot or human emotion. And that is another story… But you can research that too.