Sarah Hilary “I find research can become an obsession – and a distraction – when I’m supposed to be creating a story. That said I would never attempt a novel that touches on issues which affect so many lives without taking account of the facts and the true stories that inspire/inform the fiction.”
[in an interview with ‘We Love This Book’ magazine]
Is it essential, yes. Does it add to the story, yeesss. Can it distract from the story, yes and no. All writers have to find their own way of researching: how to, when to, how much to. Some writers I guess have a problem starting. I’m like Sarah Hilary in that I enjoy researching, I get caught up in the subject, and want to continue. I have got better at recognising the danger point, when to start writing.
The biggest problem I have with research is actually as a reader, when the novel I am reading bears its research too heavily on the page. The author’s control was too loose so there is that ‘and another interesting fact’ scenario which distracts from the story.
I’ve found a big advantage in writing a series of novels about Rose Haldane, family history detective, in that the core research was done for the first novel. I read and read about adoption, family history, identity etc. Now my research is focussed on the storyline of each new book, for Connectedness that meant exploring the art world, the creative process, the materials used, the methods of working, the inspirations, the hang-ups, the training.
The art research is addictive, I still tear out interesting articles from magazines and request books from the library. Really, I should be writing book two and researching book three.
If you agree with Sarah Hilary, perhaps you will agree with:-
Karen Maitland – do your research, then set it aside
Sofie Gråbøl – always look for the weak side of a character, for the dark side
Rachel Joyce – I have to have faith in good stories and good characters winning through
‘Someone Else’s Skin’ by Sarah Hilary [UK: Headline]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Research can become an obsession: I agree with… @sarah_hilary http://wp.me/p5gEM4-YV via @SandraDanby #amwriting