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Friday, January 4, 2013

On Research

I became very excited to write the next big scene in "Seer Tyro Fiend" this morning, but when I did, boom, I had to stop and do some research. In this scene, Stefanie asks her friend, Amy, to help her explore her psychic talent. As a self-proclaimed witch, Amy knows all about such things. As part of their preparations, Amy explains aspects of Stefanie's astrological background, and that was where the research came in. First, I needed to find an "air" sign, of which there are only two -- Libra and Gemini. One website I found had considerable information on it, including the influences of adjacent signs for those born on a cusp. I finally decided that Stefanie is a Gemini born on the cusp of Cancer.

Okay, that's not a lot of research, but I wasn't looking to become an astrology expert. While I find the subject fascinating, I don't really want to take the time to dig in with any depth, but I want the details I use to agreed with established and accepted knowledge. The key thing to remember about including details from research is that the extent of their use should be in proportion to their place in the story. This is only one passage, and I only need to include enough detail to make Amy sound like she knows something. Should someone read and wish to learn more about astrology, at least what I include will mesh with simple research. I might stretch things a bit, but as I heard an author say in a panel discussion on writing, "If someone tells me I got it all wrong, I tell them, 'that's why they call it fiction.'"

Now that I have the details I need, I can get back to the fun of creating my new scene.

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