Monday, November 28, 2011

The right amount of research

I like to learn things. I am creative and curious.

This makes my draw toward writing straight-forward. World creation is some awesome stuff -- even when the world you're creating mostly overlaps with our own.

There are very important reasons to do research. I once started a Podiobook set in the far future which centered on the diamond industry -- specifically slaves forced to mine diamonds. The problem? It was supposed to be a campy light-hearted scifi tale. It succeeded overall in that regard, but I found the whole "diamond mine" premise ridiculous.

We can already manufacture diamonds a higher grade than those that can be mined. Bigger, more perfect diamonds are manufactured, not mined. This is with today's technology. Set it in the far future, and any diamond mine that doesn't lead to a lab where diamonds are churned out just comes across as false. I just couldn't sustain my disbelief.

I value some research as an aid to realism. However, neither I nor you are likely to ever become an expert at all of the technology we're likely to add to our novels. There's a place for research and realism, but there's also an expectation the reader will allow us to get away with some things. Suspension of belief is to be expected, though if you abuse it you lose your audience. It needs to be realistic, but after a certain point you reach a place of diminishing returns.

I've been doing research for the edit phase of "The Creeps". Frankly, I have been getting distracted by it.

I am not expecting my work to be awesome because of the scientific accuracy. It's a zombie novel for goodness sakes. All I need is enough accuracy that it doesn't distract from the characters and story. This is all anyone truly needs.

If NaNoWriMo teaches you anything, it is this: When in doubt make it up. Above all, keep your deadlines. It needs to ship before anyone can complain about it. The first few are usually crap, so move fast so you can start being awesome.

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