Bine ai venit, prieteni!
Translation: Here's some strong espresso and really gooey brownies, because we're getting a bit technical today.
I'm lying; it actually means: Welcome, friends! Don’t click away; that’s all the Romanian I’ll be typing this Saturday, cross my heart. WHY I typed Romanian is because this is my March Round Robin post! (See silly drawing by yours truly in the corner. Makes sense now?)
If you’re new to this—every month a bunch of MuseItUp Publishing authors write on a topic thought up by Rhobin Courtright. Nothing complex. Backstory on March’s topic (cue hazy pipe music and gusting wind to signify flashback dialogue, probably by a well-spoken British individual like 99.6% of existing narrations):
All story genres take some research for establishing details in the setting. What type of research have you had to do? Does it bother you when you read something happening in a story that is inaccurate historically, socially, scientifically, etc.?
This hits home for me right now because I’m transitioning into finding a new story. Before opening a new Word Doc, someone should install a pop-up with blaring letters saying: RESEARCH IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. Because someone once told me to “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.” No idea who said it, and I actually probably read it somewhere, but it’s the best advice I’ve ever been given. And if you’re burning to write about, say, 18th century circuses and you know diddly squat about them—then sniff up some Nasonex, head to a library, and get your research on. I’ve done everything from skulking the reference sections and shoving quarters to make copies of pages to squinting at Wikipedia and favoriting page after page. True, Wikipedia is not the most Grade A of sources but it’s great for general sleuthing around. The internet is a treasure trove; in the last month I’ve done searches on Arthurian mythology, the Blarney Stone, the Culinary Institute of America, and all kinds of Romanian folklore.
You might think, Uh, yeah that’s great but that’s a lot of work and I don’t wanna do it. Well—too bad. You want a good story? Either gets your facts right…or learn a broad stroke of it all and fake it. There’s that other phrase about every lie containing a kernel of truth, right? Gather up a sprinkling of true historical facts or semantics and then just weave the rest around if you want. If you write fiction like I do, all you need to do is write like you know what’s going on. For The Christmas Lights, a novella I wrote that takes place in middle/late 1800s England, United States, Switzerland, and France, basically the only things I looked up were when lightbulbs became the norm and the style of men’s clothing, then went off from that. I was a big cheater for that one. Well—don’t write about Abe Lincoln using Skype to contact Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War and expect people to bow down to your intellect, but you get what I mean.
As for reading, I don’t think I’ve picked up any glaringly incorrect books history/scientifically-wise. I just finished The Princess Bride and THAT bundle of words was the biggest middle finger to history’s timeline that I’ve ever seen (at least in the beginning, when Goldman was trying really hard to pretend that Morgenstern was a real and at time cloying person), but the it does to let you know that it is, indeed, a story and not to be taken as fact. And it was kind of funny. Other than that, I think writers know the code that, even if you’re fabricating 90% of the story, you do need some semblance of normalcy. It’s got to make sense.
Un mil gracias for stopping by (that's Spanish, and means "a thousand thanks")! What kind of research have you had to do? Are you hardcore on it or just consult ol’ Wiki now and again? Or do you avoid research like the plague, or jury duty, or those channels that only show infomercials?:)
P.S. I just Googled it and apparently "X" stands for "kiss" and not "hug"? I'm just trying something out. Let's make it a stand in for "Cheers," "Yours," or "Sincerely." :)
Follow along and be mentored by the setting secrets of other Muse writers(!):
Heidi M. Thomas