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Research 101
By: McKenna Jeffries

               Now that you have your idea started to research and are confused. The dreaded thought of research probably puts your teeth on edge like it did to me. I realized that research doesn't have to be tedious. So I developed a little trick I like to call RELAXATION.   

Read. This first step of researching is very simple. If you want to be a writer you probably already love to read. When I say “read” your response maybe “ Oh I do that anyway”. Yes I know you read a lot but the type of reading I’m talking about is “ interest  “. This type of reading is so you can study the style of the different a writer’s. While reading ask your self a few of these questions.

1.) What type of voice do they use?

2.) What are the descriptive phrases they use to describe their characters, place, and conflict?

 3.) How do they make you become a part of the scene?

4.)What are the difference and similarities in the writer’s style?

5.) How does this novel make me feel or what are the sense it invokes?

These are a few of the question you should ask yourself as you read with interest.

Experience. The greatest resource tool you have is yourself and the people around you. Use the experience of how you parents or grandparents met and fell hopelessly in love. Put your own spin on it. The funny thing that happened to you as you went to the grocery store could turn into how your characters meet. The talk you had with your friends, story you heard and the list goes on is all thoughts may garner information for your novel.

Library. The library is a great place to start your search for facts. I personally love libraries. Go look around enjoy the atmosphere most people there are book lovers like yourself. I like to go and take a peek as I walk at what others are reading. I even ask people if they read any good books lately. Then they go on to describe what they have read I take mental notes of things that they remember and found of interest.

Attitude. The attitude you go in with to find information will help you. If you go in gritting your teeth or morseful then this process will be tedious and you will not get much accomplished. Go do research with a positive attitude and you can find so many fascination things that you may miss. Don’t view this as a chore but something fun. Think of research  as looking for lost treasure.

 Xerox. This is a person’s best friend. Make lots of copies so that you can make sure have the facts straight and make sure to label where you got it for future reference. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to remember where you found an obscure fact. So save yourself a lot of heartache and become good friends with a Xerox machine.

 Adventure. Remember research is fun. Imagine finding some obscure fact like how many times in a day does a whale surface or about some little know historical hero. All this information gets the mind stimulated and open new avenues of thought for your novel.

 Talk. The greatest ideas are born from conversations I’ve had. I like to stimulate conversation so I ask question that can get a debate going. What is your ideal image of you soulmate? Would your soulmate be perfect? Example would she or he not force you to talk about what you are feeling? Would you try to change a person to fit your own ideal of perfect?  These question will create so much different response you would be surprised.

 Internet. There are so many resources available to you out there and the information super highway is a great source. There are so many things to surf and see. If you do a search on the word romance you would be amazed at the amount of sites with information on this. There are ideas for recipes, gifts, people, place and so many thins. The Internet brings this all to you in lightning speed. Try these other words to search: love, romance, couple, soul mate, novel, writer and any word you can think of that I may have missed.

 Opinions. The opinions of others are good things to have. Become part of a writers organization this is a strong resource for information. I have found that the individuals that I have met are very helpful and have so many opinions to share that enhance my own thought. The organization that I find very helpful are Romance Writers of America, From the Heart Chapter and Word Museum. I have others listed on my links page you can try.

 No right or wrong way. The final rule of research is the golden one." There is no right or wrong way to research." Repeat this a couple of times in your head and then aloud. Remember where you found the information and who ever you get it from doesn’t matter. All that matters is finding the information.

 There are many place or people you can contact to help you in your search for information to make your novel accurate. I have a few organizations that are wonderful resources for writers in my links page. Research is a tool that doesn’t have to put you to sleep or make you grind your teeth. Just remember relaxation is the key.

 
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