Hi from Cie & Cathy
Okay, I’ve figured out what happened that I couldn’t blog. We need to add me on individually. Right now, Cathy’s on and I’m not. That’s it. So it’s fixable. But in the meantime, I’m just sending her the blog and asking her to post it for me. I refuse, REFUSE I SAY, to be locked out for another week, pressing my nose against the glass looking wistfully in like a kid at a candy store. (Yes, it was a run-on sentence. But I liked the image. What can I say? I’m a writer.)
ANYWAY, I’m working on the finale of the Thrall trilogy. One day it goes great. The next it sucks. I HATE that. But there you go. It’s part of the process. Another big part of the process that most readers aren’t aware of is RESEARCH.
"But wait! You write paranormal. Can’t you just make it all up?"
Yes. . . and no.
It has to make SENSE. AND you have to base it in enough reality that the reader is comfortable with it and "buys" into the story. You don’t want to have something so out-there that the story gets lost just trying to figure out the situation. I mean, we love complicated books. But it’s the characters and the plot that are supposed to be complicated. The world they move in is supposed to be rich, detailed and interesting, but it is NOT supposed to overpower the story.
AND THEN there’s the stuff that’s real-life based.
An example. Since I’m working on Touch of Darkness (the Thrall Book 3/Kate Reilly story), we’ll use one from there.
Our heroine finds herself in a jam. She kills a vampire. It’s a messy, bloody, kill and the police and ambulance folks have been called in.
Now, if there’s a body on the ground, and you’re covered in blood. The police are going to want to question you. They just are. NOT having that happen isn’t realistic. SO you then get into the whole can of worms of "What is correct police procedure" which means RESEARCH. So you do your research and you get her interviewed and all the other happy crap. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: prosecution. Now, you want to be realistic BUT you don’t want the whole story to grind to a halt while the wheels of justice grind realistically slowly. (It can take years, folks, YEARS. My heroine doesn’t have that kind of time.) SO I come up with a solution, and I check with my sources. Is this legal? Is this possible? Do I have the procedure for doing it right?
Yes, and no.
It is at least marginally possible in Colorado. But it is completely and totally NOT the procedure in Texas. (I had the heroine visiting.)
SO, I EITHER get to change the procedure to match the location OR I have my heroine haul her ass back to Colorado. Either way, re-writing is necessary. The research has affected the way the plot moves. BUT it will be a better book because of it. The people who read the book aren’t going to be going "Wait a minute. That’s not right." or simply throw the book across the room in frustration because of a major screw up.
And that’s not the end of it. If you have a character driving back from visiting their family in Utah you need to find out things like: (1) What highways they’d take? (2) How many miles is it? (3) How long would it take? (4) Any incidental construction? (5) What is the terrain they would see? (6) About how many times would they have to stop for gas, to eat. It goes on and on.
Now you may not end up USING all of this. But you need to know. Because it’s going to affect how the characters interact and what they are capable of. I mean, if Ronny has just come off of driving 20 hours straight he’s going to be exhausted (but buzzing from caffeine probably), irritable, red-eyed and in need of a shower. He’s not going to be patient and fresh as a daisy when he interacts with people. If you have him be, the readers won’t buy it.
RULE OF THUMB
Never EVER (ever, ever, ever, ever) underestimate your readers. And don’t cheat them. They deserve the extra hours it takes to get it right.
(PS--Cathy here. Can't think of anything else to add, so I'll just say--"Yeah, what she said! LOL!)
Cie & Cathy