Thursday, November 8, 2018

RESEARCH BEFORE WRITING

By C. C. Austin, Guest Author


Hey ya’ll! I’m C.C. Austin. I’m a new author and have been asked by Caroline Clemmons to be your guest blogger today. I’m terrible at biographies, but here is a little bit about me:  I live in South Carolina where I was born and bred. I’ve been happily married to a Mountaineer man for 13 years. He works hard so that our feline fur babies, Indy and Pitch, can have nice things. I’m a Harry Potter fanatic, dark chocolate aficionado, sweet tea slurping, foodie; who loves music, hockey, crafts and funny animal videos. I’m about to publish my first book, BROKKEN WING, as part of the Brokken Road Romances.

Caroline asked that I share a bit of research pertaining to the Old West. In typical C.C. fashion, I can’t follow directions and will instead do something else. So today I’d like to share about my experience with research.

I've come to discover that writing historical fiction has very little actual writing involved. I’d say it is around 70% research, maybe 5% writing, and around 25% rewriting everything that you’ve already written.  I have no data to back up this claim; it's just my non-expert, expert opinion. Back in the day, I enjoyed card catalogues, library stacks, microfiche and encyclopedias. I’m not being sarcastic by saying that (seriously). Nowadays, everything is available at the tip of your fingers. 

I am over the moon in love with Google. If “Big Brother” actually exists, and is watching me, he's probably getting way more than he bargained for with my search history. No, I don’t mean anything dirty. It’s just that my Google searches have gotten totally out of hand. I’m constantly Googling anything and everything. Today, I Googled the origin of the phrase “running on fumes.” It turns out that I couldn’t use that phrase in my book, because it wasn’t around during Old West days. I also spent four hours researching the origins of various alternate curse words. Did you know that the first time the term “fiddlesticks” was used as an absurd oath was in the year 1600?

Domino Effect

Very often, my searches lead to a domino effect of looking up things I found in previous searches. For example, I researched historical recipes, and then had to Google what the ingredients and tools listed in the recipes were. Writers call this” going down the rabbit hole.” I think it’s more of a “spiraling out of control, attainment of sometimes useful, knowledge.” I’m not one of those people who think they know everything. I want to know everything and have an insatiable appetite for trivia.

In researching for my book, I have found that Google does not have an answer for everything (shocking, right?). I have had to turn to books (Yay! I get to read a book! Writers don’t have much time for reading.) and ask people for answers. I’ve been lucky that my friends have been gracious enough to answer my seemingly random questions. My coroner friend probably had a shock getting a text message asking about time-elapsed appearances of mass graves. “What would the rate of decomposition be? How long does it take mounds of dirt to settle? When does grass grow over it?” I’m also thankful that my physical therapist and veterinarian were able to answer my questions. Writing a book is definitely a team effort!

Can't Answer Everything?


Hopefully I'll be able to get some actual writing done soon instead of collecting copious amounts of, sometimes, useful knowledge. For now, I think I’ll go Google what percentage of writing is actually writing.

I would love for you guys to stay in touch. You can find me and some giveaways on Facebook at:
and

2 comments:

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  2. Yay for research, spiraling out if control is such fun. Happy writing and researching. Doris

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