Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Romance and research

Q: Why is research like an iceberg?

A: Because only about 10 percent of it shows.

In my books I try to leave about 90 percent
of my background research to loom below the surface.
With luck, my readers will never notice that it's there,
apart from enjoying my worldbuilding. :-)

After all, for every cool, alien-seeming flower or fruit
I might learn about --I prefer not to completely make them up--
there are lots of equally exotic plants that aren't useful
for the purposes of my story.

In INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL, which I recently sold
to Alicia Condon of DORCHESTER PUBLISHING, my furious
hero is maroioned on a deserted island with an unwilling heroine
who won't take off her fancy (but wet) clothes to save her life ....
which she should!

According to the Science Channel's SURVIVORMAN, Les Stroud,
the best way to avoid hypothermia is to doff the wet duds and share
body heat.

So, my frustrated hero decides that life will be more tolerable
if he can construct a distillery and a guitar --or a flute, with a view
to getting drunk and singing raunchy songs about his plight.

It doesn't much further the story if my hero then plans exactly how
he will go about fabricating his moonshine still or his instrument,
but the author needs to know, and a true detail here or there gives
the hero something to do in coming scenes.

Research is on my mind partly because my "Research" for a desert
island survival romance was the topic of a radio interview I was
given yesterday.

Also, because I have suggested to the organizers of next year's
Romantic Times Convention that I'd like to put together a
workshop on "Research".

And finally, because I am about ready to get into the Research
phase of writing my next book. Thank goodness for the internet!
Imagine walking into a public library, and asking the librarian
to point me to the stacks dealing with unauthorized exhumations,
for example.

I'll leave you with that thought, pretty much, except to say that I
intend to blog a little more predictably.... Maybe on Sundays.

Best wishes,
Rowena

2 comments:

Annalee Blysse said...

I like watching that show. I've gotten a few writing ideas. He ought to do a survival on driving across America. ;) Even driving the interstates I bring supplies. The longest I've ever been stuck on an interstate was 4-hours but it was awful! Traffic was backed up miles and there was no way to get off the Interstate. We had no water, and couldn't run the AC and it was noon and right around 100 degrees outside.

Rowena Cherry said...

Wow, Annalee!

That sounds terrible. I believe one should always have at least drinking water in the car.

I can't stand high temperatures, and I imagine that the fumes from the other cars in the traffic jame would have been quite distressing too.

We you evacuating from somewhere? Maybe everyone should have those hand held, battery powered fans!

Best wishes,
Rowena