A Research Drive

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Let me tell you when research becomes not only fun but outrageously exciting.

It’s when you travel to research the setting of your novel in person.

For years, I’ve been wanting to drive down the West Coast, from Portland to Ensenada, just like my characters do in the novel I’m now querying. Finally, it’s happening!

I partially credit post-cruise blues. The day we got back, we were ready for another vacation. It didn’t take much convincing as far as, “Want to miss three days of work and camp along the coast with the kids?” But forking over the funds to fly to Portland, rent a car, and fly home from LA? Well, since the novel hasn’t sold yet, we’re calling it an investment and a leap of faith.

Maybe this research trip will create big changes for the novel. Maybe it will only add that “touch of verisimilitude” that Stephen King suggests in On Writing. But either way, I am so thrilled!

One goal that I have for my writing is that readers will feel like they’re there , and so far when I’ve written descriptions I’ve done my best to make guesses, based on what I could Google or imagine, but nothing can substitute for gathering input from all five of my senses at once, experiencing the climate, the vegetarian, the weather, the beach sand, and everything else for myself. I want readers to experience that amazing drive down Highway 1 vicariously through my novel, and now I get to make that happen!

The cruise, by the way, was awesome. And while I didn’t work on my new novel quite as much as I thought I would, I did get some fundamental storyline questions figured out, so I’m very much excited to press forward with a new manuscript, too, even while polishing my “finished” one with setting details.

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