Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's In the Details

It is blog chain time once more, and this time Michelle has started things off.

There are so many things we have to include in our storyworlds...characters, world details, settings, etc. No matter what genre you write, your stories are full of tiny details that help create your storyworld. I know that for me, at least, finding or creating all these details can sometimes be a bit tough.

Where do you go for help? And what types of things are you more likely to research/search for as opposed to making up on your own? Do you have any favorite resource sites? Share links if you have them!!

I honestly don't have any favorite research sites... unless you count Google. When I am stuck for exactly how to describe something or don't have a clear enough vision of it in my head, then I use Google images. If I want to make sure that I am spelling the name of an actual person (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) correctly, then I Google. Sometimes if I am trying to figure out where something is or how long it would take my character to get somewhere then I'll use Google maps.

So yeah, Google. I really really really like Google. But so this post doesn't seem like a paid advertisement for Google, I usually try to write without clicking over to Google and the greater World Wide Web it is a part of, because then there is a whole world of distractions. And since I write stories that take place in contemporary settings, luckily I don't need a lot research, but can instead pull from my own life and observations and then from there let my characters dictate all the little details that go into a story.

For an example of how I usually write details into a story here is a tiny excerpt from my YA novel that I am currently querying.

I slipped out of bed and down the stairs. For pajamas I’d taken to sleeping in the hospital gown that I had kept on beneath the clothes the mom and the dad had brought for me, wearing it the whole drive home, feeling then, as I do now, that it was the only thing that truly belongs to me. Reaching into the closet by the front door, I pulled out the first thing my fingers grabbed hold of – a gigantic puffy parka that covered me down to mid-thigh. Even though it wasn’t that cold out, I pulled the fur-lined hood up over my head, figuring it would counter-balance my bare feet.

For the puffy parka, I was actually remembering similar ones that my younger sisters wore a few years ago when the fur-lined hoods were a very big thing. And from two stays in the hospital after having both of my children via c-section, I am very familiar with hospital gowns. Both of those clothing items came together, and I liked the juxtaposition between the two - the flimsy gown and gigantic coat.

So, that's how I research - what about you?

And to continue following this chain, make sure to check out Sandra's post before mine and Cole's immediately after.


  1. As a writer of very short fiction PBs, I hardly ever do any research. i do however, always check Amazon to see if my title has been taken. (And to see what other books may be out there with similar concepts) And I rely heavily on and

  2. This is a great response. I keep telling myself to remember things around me for later writing moments, but it's not often that I do. It's a great habit to get into though.

  3. Great answer! I'm the same way. With realistic YA, far less research than other genres. I also loved your excerpt. Want to read more! Find it interesting how she calls them "the mom" and "the dad" rather than "my". Want to know why. :-)

  4. I pretty much use google too. ;-)