Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG: Research Heaven

Hurray for me; I have this shiny new idea for a story! About time. I love my new idea, even have a few lines written, and started some plotting. Yes, you heard that right from a pantster - I am doing some minimal plotting. Plotting of course, entails RESEARCH.

I was over at M Pax site, and she posted about a dwarf galaxy that was being absorbed by the Milky Way, and that sparked a cool idea. Except, I know nothing about science or astrology.  For this idea I need to know some stuff about planets, and sustaining some type of humanoid life form without direct sunlight. I love research! Just give me an excuse and I will happily dive into research heaven for anything. ANYTHING. Following one link to another, thinking new what-if questions to answer. Getting lost in trivia for hours, days.

The problem is that I am the queen of procrastination. And what better way to procrastinate than to conduct research for a shiny new story idea. I've had a couple story ideas that required lots of research, and I spent so much time researching, I forgot what I was going to use the research for; what the plot for the story should be.

And while I am grateful for this shiny new idea, and the opportunity to increase my knowledge about an interesting subject I know very little about. This love of research, coupled with my inclination for procrastination, make me question if I want to write this story at all, or if I am just bored and want some reason to sit for hours on my computer and pretend to still be a writer.

That is my insecurity this month; that my idea that needs lots of research is just a fleeting procrastination tactic to not complete any unfinished projects. Have you ever questioned a new story idea?


Ya'll know the drill for Insecure Writers Support Group, and if not, visit the link for details, and of course for a list of participating blogs. Be sure to stop by Alex's co-hosts this month: M Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone and Randi Lee. I've got lots going on this week so I may not get around to much visiting until late this weekend.

43 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If you have a brief outline, take breaks in your research to jot down ideas for the story or even a couple scenes. That will fuel your excitement and you'll know if it's for the story or the research.

Pat Hatt said...

Research is good, but sometimes just writing away is good too, then you get most of the story done and fix the errors and such with research when you are done.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Pick a day and just start writing, whether you have researched enough or not. You can always fix things later.

Yolanda Renee said...

All great ideas, from my fellow commenters!

I hope your muse isn't fooling you and this story solidifies as you research to your hearts content!

Stephen Tremp said...

Good luck with your shiny new idea! I'm both a panster and plotter. Whatever hits me, I write. It's a scattered process that works for me.

M Pax said...

I loved Take Off Your Pants for outlining. I'm a reformed pantser too. Glad I sparked an idea for you.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I like Alex's idea of jotting down scenes as you research. Outlines are good so long as we keep the option of adapting and revising it as we write. Best of luck with the writing!

Feather Stone said...

The same thing happened to me with an idea for book #2. I resisted as I could see a ton of research was required. The muse would NOT shut up. I kept seeing exciting scenes and got to know more about some really nasty and amazing characters. The more I got to know them and their backstory, the demands for research seemed less daunting. Finally came the day when I just had to sit down and begin page one. Good luck. Wishing you great success.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Give yourself a time limit for research then once you've reached it, start writing.
Good luck!

Julie Flanders said...

I feel like I could have written this post. I am guilty of this and also the queen of procrastination.

Simon Kewin said...

You never know where research will take you, what new ideas it will trigger. So, sure, at some point I guess you need to stop and write. But learning/researching is surely never wasted.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I see PASSION here... Where there is PASSION there is WRITING TOO... You may feel that the research is the key to this new idea, but I know you better than that. You LOVE to write and express yourself through your writing. So by all means do the research. I know the story will follow.

If you are still not convinced, penn out a scene. See where it leads you. If you are spilling your guts out onto the page then it is more that just procrastination...

HAPPY to hear the excitement in your voice, D.

Olga Godim said...

Oh, I know. That's what happens to me all the time. Go write that story. Don't let the lack of knowledge to stop you. You might not need all those astrology facts in the story after all, and even if you do, invent them and set the story as a fantasy. In fantasy, everything goes.
That's what I'm doing right now, writing a story without having all the facts. I figure if I still don't know how to solve my main problem (or rather how the heroes would solve it) I'd make up some magic gadget, and whiff - the problem solved. You can always add some premonitions of this in the earlier parts of the story later. As one of my online friends keep telling: "Write, dammit!"

Loni Townsend said...

Most of my story ideas are based in my made-up world where I write the rules. Unfortunately, that means I can't use the research tactic to procrastinate. But other stuff that does require research... those can be fun.

Best of luck with your new idea!

M.R. R. said...

Interestingly, my problem with research is that I take forever to actually do it. And then that makes it harder to write further because I'm clueless. :P

Lisa said...

I like to write the story first the best that I can because then it becomes more real to me, then I do the research, the big research, and if I have to re-write so be it. That way I don't lose my story! While you're writing, make notes about where you'll need your research. Go girl, make the story happen. Don't give in to the procrastination, give in to your muse... Lisa @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Denise Covey said...

Hi Donna! Great news! Do you want me to send you an email every day asking how the story's going? Marvellous how these ideas pop up!

Denise :-)

My IWSG post on Mindfulness

Kim Lajevardi said...

I agree with Alex. Write and research together. Piece by piece you'll be able to carve out a first draft.

klahanie said...

Hey Donna,

Don't let research get in the way of a shiny new idea :) I was going to comment further. Maybe later, or tomorrow, or the next day, or....

Gary :)

Maurice Mitchell said...

Well it sounds like a fascinating topic anyway. Who knows? Maybe you'll come up with an even better story by the end!

dolorah said...

Alex: good ideas, thanks.

Pat: that's kinda how I usually do it. But then, I have lots of unfinished projects.

Dianne: does later ever come?

Thanks Yolanda

Stephen: ha, seems to work well for you :)

Mary: thank you

Roland: keep it brief and flexible, right?

Feather: Yeah, just gotta get more "lines" written

Jennifer: hmm, I like the idea of time limits. Like, deadline :)

Julie: nice to see a twin out there for me :)

Simon: nope, never wasted

Michael: ah, nice to see you stranger. And thanks for the encouragement. I am excited about this idea and am engaged in it when time allows.

Olga: like that :) Even Spec Fic has to be somewhat believable, but I do agree with "creative license" also.

Lone: there is always another way to procrastinate, lol.

MRR: yeah, sometimes the need to research can stump the creativity, keep the story from moving on.

Li: getting the general idea down is tough. I do love to re-write and revise though.

Hey Partner :) Kick me in the creative butt, you know I need it. Hows your trip?

Kim: I really would love a first draft to rewrite

Gary: I Was Seeking Gary today, and here you show up. Almost, lol.

Maurice: That would be the hope.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Even if you have a minimal outline, that's a good start. Like Alex said, take breaks for research and write down a few scenes as and when they pop up in your mind. I have a story idea that will require a lot of research, no wonder I am procrastinating.


Rachna Chhabria
Co-host IWSG
Rachna's Scriptorium

Mark Koopmans said...

It took me two days of research to get to you (mixed in with some awesome time on Spotify and Angelsbaseball.com)

Keep doing what's working (or do some more research... just to make sure ;)

DEZMOND said...

ooh, you know I love me some sf!

SittieCates said...

That shiny new idea is waiting for your magic touch. :-) Research would be fun if you've got a sort of itinerary so you won't get lost with too much details and go straight towards what would strengthen that shiny new idea of yours.

Wishing you lots of luck!

mshatch said...

SF stories often require a lot of research as I learned writing mine. May I recommend Gurp's Space by Steve Jackson? Wicked good book for us scifi writers.

Elsie Amata said...

Pantsers unite!

I think I'll do what you're doing and write a very minimal plot line for my next book. Or not. I love to just write and see what happens.

I think if you were meant to write the book, it'll happen. That's my new age thinking though...

Chrys Fey said...

New ideas are awesome and research is great! But procrastination is a real pain. I hope you can defeat your procrastination and write this story. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Well, you had the idea to start with. Hang on to that! I would say just research what you need, but you don't know what will come up that sparks more ideas. It's a tricky one. I tend to just write and then research any knowledge gaps, but that can have its own problems if you have to fix whole swathes of wrong information. No magic formula, but maybe you could produce a workable plan alongside your research - so it is productive?

Julie Dao said...

Oh, Donna. I think we are in the same boat, my friend! I've been doing endless plotting and character sketches, but I think what I need to do is just dive in headfirst. And you should do the same! <3

Patricia Lynne said...

Research actually scares me a bit. Especially if it's something I know little about. I like to learn, but I get afraid that I will find the wrong information and not have the truth.

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Nicki Elson said...

How cool that you were inspired by another blogger buddy! If you're having doubts about whether or not this story will stick or if it's just procrastination, I echo what others have said -- set time specifically for just writing and not researching. Limit the time you give yourself for researching, then get to writing and make notes along the way on what you need to research during designated research time. I guess I'm sorta saying to semi-plot your research??

Arlee Bird said...

Oh, tell me about it! I love doing research on anything that comes my way. I watch a movie and then go do research about it later.

I bet I can procrastinate better than you can. You want to have a contest? Let's start next week. No wait, let's do it the following week or whenever we can.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Road trippin' with A to Z
Tossing It Out

Al Diaz said...

You got the attention of my minions at Dwarf Galaxy. They would love to know anything about anything that has dwarves in it. Recently I was taught several techniques for research (at school). They say it's easy to get lost in information and hyperlinks that take you from one page to another. Before diving into research you have to make clear what is it exactly what you're looking for. Write down the questions for which you look answers. Then you have to filter the information. Each time you run into an hyperlink or a piece of information, you should ask yourself if the contents would answer any of your questions. Because, let's face it, one may start at galaxies and end up in the Hollywood star parade page. Good luck in your research! Dragon Hugs!!

Cherie Colyer said...

Research is great, but it can be never ending if you let it. Maybe try balancing your time by writing the scenes you know, or write snippets of what you know, with research. And if you are in the flow of writing and hit a point you need to do more research, make a note and keep writing. You can always add in the details later.

Cherie Reich said...

Researching is not procrastination. Being a writer involves a lot of things that don't include actual writing/typing. :)

Christine Rains said...

Oh, I know the lure of research. I often click from one article to the next, fascinated by all the little facts, and then get way off topic before realizing two hours have passed. Yet research is part of a writer's job. Just make certain you get back to writing soon! :)

dolorah said...

Rachna: I'm kinda new at this plotting thing.

Mark: lol. Some people haven't put together my two names yet :)

Dezzy: oh yes!!!

Sittie: I need the luck. I think I know what I need.

Marcy: thanks for the recommended book.

Elsie: we can discover this new technique together :)

Chrys: me too!

Nick: yep, I'm hoping for the workable plan. And the new ideas of course, so it is not too short a story.

Julie: I've got a few character sketches and a couple scenes to work with. All random, of course.

Patricia: maybe that is where creative license comes in to interpret what we learn into our own worlds.

Nicki: thanks; I am trying :)

Lee: a contest heh? At some point in times? Yep, whenever . . .

Al: thanks for passing on your school learning. Ain't it great to help a buddy out? I shall use your Dragon Wisdom; and perhaps there will be a place for Dwarves in my new world. (Hugs)

Cherie C: A new thing I'm learning along with plotting: note keeping. This is starting to feel like work with all the organizing and note keeping!

Cherie R: Yes. Things like getting blissfully lost, lol. But I agree it is still writing related.

Christine: I may have to invest in a timer :)

Ink in the Book said...

Take the idea and run with it. You never know when your muse will decide to be quiet!

Sandra Cox said...

Shiny new ideas are the best. I trust your research will translate into a wonderful outline and story.

Lexa Cain said...

I love research too! I think no matter whether you write this idea or find another one, you'll never regret the time you spent learning new things. That's the best way to flood your mind with inspiration, so you can come up with amazing new ideas!

TBM said...

I love research, which can be so dangerous for me since I'll keep researching and researching and not write.

Andrew Leon said...

Most of my idea questioning stops at, "Do I actually have time to write this?"