Some are probably scratching their heads trying to make the connection between DC and Mac. I’m sure there’s more questions in there, but the history behind Mac’s Pearls deals with the earlier days of me writing and trying to come up with a pen name. Mac was short for Mackenzie, yet everyone I met online called me Mac. I used to try to help other writers understand different techniques in writing, as there are many, and while I may not be an expert in writing, I have a good understanding of the “rules.” We’ll get back to why that’s in quotation marks later.
I do need to give a full disclosure before I go any further… I do not have a degree in English or any sort of certificate in creative writing. I’ve learned the art of creative writing by asking questions, doing research, through dedication, and trials and errors. There may be some things I get wrong, and there is plenty I’m still learning, but I hope to help those who may have questions, and Mac’s Pearls is being brought to this blog by popular demand.
I’m going to kick this new series of posts off with the topic of research.
What is research and how does it apply to a writer?
Well, unless you are creating a world that is fantasy or paranormal, or work in a field surrounding something specific you want one of your characters to do—research is a must.
Research involves many things:
I’m not going to go on and on with all the different options out there with research, as there are many, and I could take your entire afternoon up with different ways. What I will say is research is a part of my day job. It’s something I’ve done for over fifteen years, and it’ll be something I do until I retire from said day job. I’m good at what I do, and I can find anything I want. In case you missed it, or it’s gone over your head, my day job is in investigations. I’ve learned tricks when it comes to Google searches, and I’ve built a source of walking knowledge by building rapport with different members in different career fields. You can do this too.
It’s important to get what you put in your books right. Here’s why…about a year ago I read a book by one of my favorite authors who is a NY Times Bestseller. This author was one I didn’t scoff at paying $8-10 for an e-book right when it came out, because I wanted to read it right away.
In this book I found a serious error, one that I know by heart due to my background, and one that unfortunately turned me completely off to this author. I am sad to say I will never buy or read another book by this author again.
Don’t do this to your readers. Be true to your characters and respect the knowledge of those who want to get lost in your world.
12/3/2014 01:44:00 am
12/3/2014 01:44:15 am
Glad you liked it!
12/2/2014 09:02:41 pm
Enjoyed reading this. Research can be fun and can be not fun. I've sometimes used a fact where there is disagreement between the experts because one fits my plot better than another.
12/3/2014 01:45:19 am
Good point! Could be an opinion of something right? I think that's what makes your books even better...the chance to think outside of the box, and figure out, "How can I make things worse for my character?" Thanks for that point, Janet! :)
12/2/2014 10:33:54 pm
DC (or should I call you Mac?!), this is a fantastic post. I just WISH I had your knowledge base. I realize you've gathered it through years of hard work, but still! : ) Looking forward to the next post!
12/3/2014 01:45:45 am
Thanks, JB! I hope it helps you, too! :)
12/3/2014 01:32:52 am
Great post! I write in genres where I either can get away with breaking rules, or no one's alive to interview. Because of that, I have one hell of a research library - books and websites are often my only options.
12/3/2014 01:46:50 am
Love the idea of "out of the box!" Research can be tricky, but once you understand how it's done, so easy. :) Happy writing, Gianna!
Leave a Reply.