It usually helps me write by reading – somehow the reading gear in your head turns the writing gear — Steven Wright
Last Monday, my research material for the short-story-turned-novel arrived. I can’t remember if there was ever a time I was this excited to do research. Each book, each item I took out of the cardboard box I deemed a treasure trove of revelations waiting to be discovered.
I can tell you my two main characters were excited, too. They’re reading the research along with me. I don’t notice them until I come across an interesting tidbit that intrigues them and one or both of them immediately enact an idea for me. No warning whatsoever. Just — BOOM. It’s so easy for them to tear me away from whatever I’m doing.
Fortunately, any moment/idea they play out for me lasts roughly a minute. And I take another minute to absorb their idea. Then I give them the side-eye and ask if that’s something they want to explore. They give me one of two responses — shrug and say it wouldn’t hurt to see if the idea has merit to the narrative, or they give me an enthusiastic ‘Hell yes!” They know I have final veto on an idea but we hash it out and make sure we’re all in agreement on any given idea/concept.
Since receiving the research material, I have made it a point to set aside a minimum of a hour a day to go through it. It’s kinda nice to purposefully set aside time to read. The book worm in me had missed it. The subject matter is beyond interesting. I admit I haven’t made time to read for the pure pleasure of it. But this is a start. I’m also thinking that reading non-fiction might be the only way for me to make time to read. There are certain genres of fiction I undoubtedly make time to read. But beyond those genres, I’m hard-pressed to make a concerted commitment to read for pleasure’s sake.
There was a time I would read anything. I was much younger back then, had fewer responsibilities and fewer distractions. Maybe I’m picky. Maybe I just have more interests vying for my attention.
All this research is going to be a boon for the short-story-turned-novel. Already there are little details I want to change, include and/or consider. I am genuinely excited about this. There is much that will influence how the story will evolve. This will give my characters a more rounded portrait of who they are at the beginning of the story and where they will end up at its conclusion. I have a couple of different endings in mind for them. But as I go through all the research material, I believe a new idea or two on ways to end the story may reveal themselves to me.
A treasure trove of revelations. I love it.