To Research Is To Reference

This weekend… 

I did my errands and focused on my novel. But I faced a huge block while editing my outline (or first draft). I had all these holes in the story, so in two days, I forced myself to list all the storylines (about 9) and wrote the path I wanted for them.

The trouble was, there were a few paths I didn’t know how to take. In addition, I managed to do rough profiles for my settings and also got myself into a lot of trouble there.

I’m going to let the corrections in the first draft simmer for a few days while I get my critique routine scheduled. Meanwhile, I already planned how to solve my current issues.

This is where I used my trusty referencing skills. Not research, referencing. 

  1. Researching is like filling your car up with gas. Your story will run for some time, but you will know when you need to fill it with gas (‘research’). How do you know? Writer’s block or doubt. 
  2. Write a list of resources you need to explore. I listed all the books and websites I had available for the topics I needed help with. 
  3. I separated my 14 books and 4 online resources into two stacks: one for idea generation and the other for topic inquiry. The idea generation stack is the stack whose entire content will help with my story content so I scan through them. The inquiry stack will only have a little part to do with my story, so I skim and focus on the important topics before putting them aside. You will have different labeled stacks, the goal is to separate your time with them and decide which ones did the most attention. 
  4. Use a designated time per day to read materials. Make notes in books if you can. If not, a notebook will do.
  5. This is entirely by instinct. You will feel yourself stop researching. Most people may do it in the middle of their research phase or sometimes after reading 20 pages. Some may force themselves to finish. If you feel this way, just stop and go back to story.
  6. When you need more gas, you can always go back to the ‘gas station’. You may also find yourself changing your resources or working with the same ones you left.

Novel Diaries – Day 7 – Lessons Learned:

  • Continue pushing. This helped you when you were stuck. 
  • Writer’s block or doubt is a sign that your gas tank is empty. Fill it up!
  • Don’t forget the real world while you work on your story. 
  • If only you can draw… 😑
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