A beautiful weekend here. Windows open, fresh air. Birds singing. So what did I choose to do all weekend? Story research.
Some have the impression that writing is simply sit down, type out your thoughts, and publish. And for many, for better or worse, that may work. But admitting to not knowing everything, researching all of the little tidbits and factoids comprising “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” stories takes as much or more time and effort than the actual writing of the stories.
Getting the little information right is important to me not only to lend believability and credibility to fictionalized stories, but also as a heartfelt responsibility to present correct and historically accurate information. Maybe made more so attempting to write reliably about positive themes and guidance, wildlife, animals, nature and the environment. Hours of research may be boiled down to a few lines in a paragraph. But I feel it is incumbent upon me to get it right. It is the underpinning of everything else in the story.
Some say that the research is easier than the writing. Others seem to dread doing research, feeling it needless drudgery. I enjoy both. It’s a personal matter for every writer. But when reading a story featuring a character rushing to deliver a telegraph message about the Boston Tea Party while riding a Morgan stallion during the American Revolution and being chased thru Massachusetts by a band of Sioux Indians in warbonnets working with the British Army , you just get the sense that someone did not do their homework. For me, the”Fiction” heading only stretches the credibility and believability envelope so far.
This weekend I researched Ice Cream, Adjectives Beginning With The Letter “F”, Coonhounds, Honeybees, the History of Horses in America, Mustangs, Chickens, Various Breeds of Pigs, Pasture Farming Practices, Native American Beliefs, Plains Bison vs Wood Bison, Ozarks Mountain Folklore, Steamboat Whistles and Hoopskirts. (Yes, Hoopskirts. Bet you can’t wait for that story!)
But story research is not only visiting the library, pouring thru reference volumes, or Googling information for a specific item, fact or question. It is an everyday, part of living thing. Being aware, paying attention and observing all going on around us, all the time. Mannerisms, expressions, behaviors, reactions to situations, responses, the way people dress, communicating, personal exchanges, and so much more. Always adding to the internal library of knowledge from which to withdraw when needed. Research is both living and being a student of life.
Now, off again to come up with a good name and learn more about a certain Turkey Buzzard that Little Red Bear just remembered he wanted to include in the next collection of stories. As one of my favorite authors said — “Good writing is hard work!”
Thanks as always for visiting and reading! — Jim (and Red!)