Saturday, March 03, 2007

What We Do For Love

Or rather, for love of our writing and our characters.

It seems like this topic comes up on writing forums with some regularity. To what lengths will you go to research your story or characters? At one point I seriously considered spending a couple weeks on a low-tech organic goat farm in a remote area of New Mexico. They offered internships and it would’ve been great hands-on research for my WIP at the time. But I was reluctant to take the necessary vacation days from work, since I still wanted to have a regular vacation with my husband.

No goat farm.

But next weekend I’m doing a three-day workshop sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife. I’ll be learning archery, food preservation and horseback riding. (I can already ride a horse, but this course includes tack and basic care.) I’m excited at the opportunity to practice some of the skills that my characters have. I don’t know if it will make my writing any better, because I do a lot of research on the things I don’t know before I ever write about them.

But that's just technical knowledge.

There’s no substitute for experience, for gaining an understanding of how things actually feel.

Maybe some day I’ll do the goat farm thing, after all.


Alice Audrey said...

Is this where the part in Diana's Diary where the horse goes lame comes from?

We've had horses go lame a number of times, but never very seriously. Just staying off them a few days was enough for a recovery, though my grandparents always looked very worried when it happened.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Alice: No, I didn't need to practice horseback riding to know horses go lame. I read every horse book then written when I was a kid!

Alice Audrey said...

The horse books I read as a kid (mostly the Black Stallion series) wouldn't be much help for research.