Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Enough research?

Today I wanted to talk about research. How much is too much research? Where does one stop?

I have to admit, that I am one of those writers who wants to know everything. I grew up in a family where reading was valued and knowledge was encouraged. One of my first memories is of my mother reading, sitting up against the headboard of her bed with a book open in her lap.

If I want to know about something, I tend to find a book and read about it. Then I go bug anyone I know who might possibly have some small knowledge about the subject. It has caused many of my family and friends to roll their eyes when they see me coming with my notebook and pen. But, they are more than willing to sit down and answer questions until their throat goes hoarse (or in the case of my friends, their fingers go numb from typing emails).

The problem that I run into as of late (okay, really my whole life), is when to stop. I want to know as much as I possibly can about the subject that I am writing about... but when do I stop and just write and hope that I got it right?

Case in point, I am not Wiccan, but one of the characters in my head has told me that she is. I am luck in that I have a friend who is Wiccan and for the price of lunch I can plumb the depths of her brain for all the information I want. I also have several books on the subject and probably at least one large notebook full of notes from both the books and my friend. But I find that I am a bit afraid to start writing that part of her story as I don't feel that I've gotten all the information I can. Does anyone else find they straddle this line of research versus just writing? Any suggestions? Because, right now, I'm going a bit crazy trying to convince myself that it's okay to write it and fix any wrong information later.


Mysti Holiday said...

Yes, write... and then have your Wiccan friend read it for you.

You have to just do it eventually...

Marianne Arkins said...

When I wrote my historicals I was scared to death... what did I know about the 40s and the 50s?

So I researched, and I asked my mom... and I wrote. And sometimes I'd come to something where I needed a specific answer, so I would look for that ONE thing. And move on.

Writers write.