Friday, May 1, 2009

How do they make it seem so real?

Hi, I'm Delilah K. Stephans. Thanks Kadian for this chance to meet all your fans. I appreciate you all stopping by.

Have you ever wondered how an author makes something seem so real? How does a romance writer get it right? Very simple answer… they research. I hear the groans. Yes, research. The same research you did in school for reports but not quite the same. Come on, do you honestly think your professors are going to assign research into some of the topics of Romance novels?

I do a lot of research online. I don’t have the money to travel to all the places I want my characters to go, so I use Google to find out about wherever they are. Say I set a story in New York and want my characters to have a meal at a 24 hour diner. Well, being from the South I’d use Waffle House as my template – but guess what? Research tells me there are only 3 Waffle Houses in New York State and none near where my characters are. Would it make a big difference? Only if someone in New York was reading it. A little more research and I can find something similar in the area. Most restaurants now put their menus online – so I can even pick what they order. But sometimes online research doesn’t reveal the information you need. Say your hero is an Agent, well you need to get out and interview some real life agents. You can outline your plot to them and ask “How would you investigate this?” You may not take all their suggestions – but something will stick in your head and you’ll adjust it to your story.

My current work in progress has BDSM elements. Well that’s something that excites me as a reader and I wanted to try my hand at it, but had no knowledge of the lifestyle. So blushing furiously I ordered a few books on the subject and took an online workshop.

Another book takes place in the Middle Ages – so again I had to order a book – if you’re a writer the Everyday Life series is excellent for that. The information isn’t detailed but gives a nice overview and list other references you can check out. For period clothing, I got this tip from Alexis Morgan, you can find historical paper dolls.

Research for writing isn’t boring – because in this case, you are researching something you are interested in. There are some standards that every writer should have:
· A good dictionary
· A good thesaurus – I recommend Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
· The Chicago Manual of Style – it’s the publishing industry standard
· Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Dixon
· A Baby Name book – I have two Character Naming Source Book by Kenyon and The Baby Name Survey Book by Lansky & Sinrod
· The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book
· Passionate Ink: A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Angela Knight

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