So, I'm in a researching mood.
I don't know what's right or wrong (or if there's a right or wrong in writing a book) but I have a hard time doing all my research for a project all up front. I suspect you're supposed to do all your researching before you start writing a story or book. But I always think of questions as I'm writing or discover characters that need backstories, etc. So... for me, researching is an ongoing thing. I have tons of pictures on Pintrest and screenshots of googlemaps, etc. I've watched lengthy documentaries on king cobra snakes and King Arthur, anything that helps me with my writing, right? I may or may not use the research I collect, but it's there, just in case. Like backstory and exposition. I only use it if it becomes necessary.
NaNoWriMo taught me to not let research get in the way of drafting. It can defiantly lead you down a rabbit hole, and then it's hard to get back into writing the story. Despite this advice, though, I still find myself googling random facts sometimes. (That's okay, right?) And I find myself taking breaks from drafting to do a bit of researching. Sometimes it it helps me with writer's block. Give me ideas.
Well, I'm really excited about researching right now because the trip Hubby and I have planned for next month will be really close to where the bulk of my story takes place! It wasn't hard to talk him into visiting the streets where my characters walk and talk. He's invested in my story, enough. Plus, I promise to take him to a good restaurant afterwards.
The guy I called was super cheerful, especially after I told him we had reservations with their hotel already, and he helped answer some questions I had about our trip. He even shared his opinion, as a local of the area.
After I got off the phone, I decided to do a bit of writing. I'm at 29,000 words of my current discovery draft. I'm trying to finish it before New Year's. (Wish me luck!) Anyway, I had a question about one of my character's occupation. The dad in my story is a librarian, and I wondered about the responsibilities of a librarian and if their schedules vary from day to day. I thought about going to my local library (which I probably will do) and ask for an interview. Tom Leveen taught me once that you should never be ashamed to tell someone you're writing a book, especially if it helps you score an interview for research.
But I had had such a good experience calling the hotel we were staying at that I looked up the library that my character probably works at and asked if the librarian would let me ask her some questions about her job in order to help me with my story. I think I asked it badly because she transferred me to the reference desk. ha ha! Maybe she thought I needed a reference guide for writing a book or something. It worked out, though, because this second librarian worked in the children's section of the library, so I could ask a lot more questions to her than I could have to a different librarian. You see, my character is in charge of "Toddler Time," or story time for kids, which this librarian did.
I won't bore you with the details of conducting my first phone call interview as a writer, but I will tell you that you should do it! I had a list of general questions I wanted to ask. I had skimmed their website and calendar page, but she referenced me to BLS.gov/ooh to learn about librarian pay in the United States and pointed me to their website for more information. So, if I were you, I'd plan to find your own answers on the website before asking them.
Nevertheless, the librarian I talked to, Rita, was super nice. And she gave me insight to her library that I don't think I would have gotten at my local library. Plus--- at the end of our conversation, she said that when (not if) I get published, that I should let her know, and she'd be happy to help promote it. Wow! I love that my character is a librarian!
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down... and bleed."
"Mongkok Street, Hong Kong"