Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Research Black Hole

I always moan to my cps about how much I hate research (I believe they tune out now when I start going on about it!!!) but it's not really true. I love research. I just hate the way it sucks up so much time.

Currently I'm researching the Roman period (and does anyone know of those Horrible History books they are brilliant! Thanks to them (and various x-box games which we will totally ignore) my son knows quite a bit about the Romans.) But anyway. The research is fascinating, and I've learned loads about the organisation of the Roman Imperial Legion (my hero is a centurion. In case you didn't guess!)

The problem is, I end up reading about it all for ages. And that, of course, means I have less actual writing time. I have tried doing as Amanda's frequently suggested and just put *** in places where I need to go back and clarify when the book is finished but it claws at the back of my brain. The following day I have to hop online and research for the missing pieces - which often takes three hours just to fill in half a blank sentence. And although before I start I try and print out all the info I think I'm going to need, don't you just know it - there's always something new that pops up!


Suzanne Brandyn Author said...

Horrible history books, lol.. I loved them.. and roman history... hehehehe

Thanks for the good luck with GH... Prom, yes, giving me the frezzing ebie jeebies. hehehe


Helen Hardt said...

I'm with you, Christina. I can't leave those blanks. Lots of times I'll google something in the middle of a paragraph, find the answer, then continue on.

Kaye Manro said...

Well, we've had this conversation before! Even though I love research too, it can take up lots of valuable writing time, and I have very little of that anyway. I like to know all I can even before I start to write a word of a new story. It's a good thing I enjoy writing several stories in the same time period, that way I don't have to do a lot of extra research for each of them. Even if it's not historical, there can be costly research involved. So I sure do know what you mean!

Sussan Marz said...

I don't know if what I'm about to tell you will hinder or help, but sometimes when you let go and don't worry about it, the answers to all the blank space come to you on their own. And they come to you in the weirdest ways without you ever having to pick up a history book - eg you might bump into a history buff at the supermarket, or find a family friend has a keen interest in history or you find that brilliant tv series 'Rome' (if you haven't seen it, do). If none of these extraordinary things happen to you, then you can pick up the Horrible history book.

Cathryn Hein said...

Christina, if you're doing Rome, then you can't go past Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series for inspiration. They're awesome books. Each one has a glossary so comprehensive, it's almost worth buying the book for that alone. And if you're interested in the development of the formidable war machine that was its army, then you want Colleen. I can't recommend her highly enough, although Robert Harris is also good, as is Allan Massie. But for me, compared to Colleen McCullough, they're lightweights.
But yes, I know what you mean about research. Sometimes it's vital to sniff out that scrap of info right that instant, other times....well, let's just say it can serve as a fantastic excuse for procrastination.
Bit like blog surfing....
Back to work!

Barrie said...

I've never heard of a Horrible History book. I think I'll google it!

Christina Phillips said...

Suz lol yeah I feel like that every time I think of promo!!!

Helen, glad I'm not the only one!!

Kaye it was our conversation that sparked this post, plus the fact I couldn't see my desk for all the info I'd printed out over the last few days!!

Sussan, that's very true. And I've been desperate to watch Rome, but it's on Foxtel and my brain can't cope with 50 channels so I've missed every episode. I'll have to get the DVDs.

Cathryn, thanks so much for those recommendations. I'll see if my library has her books. And yeah I agree about how easily research can slide into procrastination!!

Barrie, you must google the Horrible Histories! They're great for kids, with all the disgusting facts of whichever period of time they're discussing!