Research first or write first?

This was originally posted on my personal blog on December 10, 2016.

I’ve occasionally come across this question online: Should you write your novel and then research (and have to go through and rip up parts of it and do them over), or research first and then write?

I can see the logic in researching first and then writing.  But there’s a little problem with that: Me itching to get the story down and dang the plausibility of it!  I can go back later and fix things.

That is, in fact, how my rewrite of Unwilling Time-Traveler has been going.  I write and research at the same time, then find something in the research that makes me go back and rip up everything, then write again, then stop to research for a while, then stop the research for a while to write again….

The thing is, until I get the story down, and know how I want it to go, how do I know what all I need to research, where to focus my efforts?

And the other thing is that the Muse is there, alive and yelling at me to get to it.  If I ignore her, she might leave me, leave my mind a dry and barren land, with no ideas to turn all those research facts into an entertaining story.

I’ll make up my mind to stop the writing and just research, research, research for a while, because I have story difficulties that can only be resolved by knowing historical facts.  But then after doing some research, I start to feel like a ripe grape, ready to burst with all those creative juices and ideas.

I suppose this is a good thing: If, after more than a year, you’re still itching to write your story, it must at least be readable when it’s done, I hope?  😀

Okay, maybe not finished with 1st draft yet: Getting into narcissist’s head

This was originally posted on my personal blog on April 9, 2016.

Regarding an earlier post, Finished with the first draft of my novel about obsession: I guess it’s nowhere near finished after all.

After doing some more research, more ideas have popped into my head of what to do with the book.  The ideas keep going back and forth, and I had to rewrite an entire section because research declared it totally implausible.

And because I had to rewrite that, I have to include more scenes developing a relationship between two characters which now has been altered, so they haven’t spent as much time together as they did before.

But now I’m also adding a second Point Of View character: the narcissist himself.  The thought of getting into his head is exhilarating, but I need to do much more research into his social class and how it related to the rise/fall of Naziism.  I have a book sitting beside my laptop which promises to explain it all.

There’s another thing: While writing the story, I found myself falling for him, just as the protagonist does.  Which is what you want, an appealing villain who captures the imagination of readers.  But he’s become less of a villain and more someone convinced he’s doing the right thing, even as he manipulates the protagonist.  Because my reading into narcissism shows a spectrum of narcissism, not just the malignant ones who enjoy screwing with you, but the ones who do it because they think they’re in the right.

And then over time, he starts to repent, because he’s not so far gone that he can’t.  The repentant villain seems to be a popular theme lately, at least in Once Upon a Time, and pops up occasionally in fiction, so I can go that route.  The repentant vampire comes up a lot, for example.  Remember how intriguing Spike became when he tried to do better without having a soul forcing the issue, unlike Angel?

I’ve noted that it seems to provide for more interesting villains, especially if they waver now and then.  Such as, for example, Gold/Rumpel, who keeps going back and forth between good and evil, first deceiving Belle, but now coming right out and laying it all on the table for her to know what kind of man he really is.  And well, Hubby and I LOVE his character.

And just the thought of needing to delve into my characters more, and write new sections of the book, fills me with glee.  Because I love this book and it constantly runs through my head.  🙂

Music and my creative process

This was originally posted on my personal blog on February 5, 2016.

Sanctuary Radio is going through a crisis because of U.S. licensing fee hikes.  DJ Rob is threatening to stop if it’s too much of a headache.  I hope it doesn’t come to that, because that’s the best web stream I’ve found so far.

It’s far better than Pandora, because you have a human driving the playlist, throwing in all sorts of brand-new stuff along with the old, and making sure you don’t get Morrissey/The Cure/Siouxsie/The Smiths every single. other. frickin’. song.

Also, Pandora just plain doesn’t have all sorts of awesome bands.  I now find that, even with web streams and Pandora over the years, I still missed all sorts of music, because we don’t have anything like that on the radio or in clubs here in small-town Wisconsin.

But being in a cocoon of industrial, EBM, darkwave and the like, has been driving a furious wave of creativity the past several months, as I work on my rewrite of Unwilling Time-Traveler.  Especially the German music, since Madge is stuck in Nazi Germany for most of it.

I’m rewriting the ending, having gotten a new idea for it after watching a German industrial video the other day.  This happened once already, when I took the last part of the plot in a totally new direction after watching the castle episode of the latest season of Doctor Who.  The subconscious works on this stuff even while I do other things, obviously.  🙂

And while researching and rewriting, I came across this video by Die Krupps:

It’s my new favorite, along with a few other German industrial tunes which came out years ago, but I’m just finding them now:

 

Also this one:

And, of course, this one, which I had to go to the German Amazon to find, but I knew about it thanks to Sanctuary (Pandora doesn’t have Unzucht):

Here’s the original version of “Schweigen,” and its gorgeous video:

This book and all the New German Hardness also have reminded me how I used to be obsessed with all things German back in high school.  My old NVLD/Aspie perseveration is back, and I love it!  🙂

And this was in today’s paper:

Though the German students visiting Wisconsin are in a new environment, both cultures have a surprising amount in common. Germans and Wisconsinites are said to be practical, hard working, family-oriented, not to mention harboring a love for bratwursts, sauerkraut, Oktoberfest and, for a few, polka dances.

So the German students, most of whom spoke English well, weren’t feeling completely displaced.

In the late 1800s, a huge influx of German immigrants chose to settle in Wisconsin, attracted to the wide availability of farmland and the natural landscape that was strikingly similar to their Central European state….

Today, about 45 percent of Wisconsin residents claim German heritage, while the rest of United States citizens claim about 17 percent of German heritage.

The long English vowels Wisconsinites are known for is said to be a byproduct of the German language.

In towns within Fond du Lac County, like Lomira, Calumet, New Holstein and Eldorado, 60 percent of residents claim German roots, according to the 2000 census — a percentage consistent in many counties across the state, especially in southern Wisconsin.

Thirty percent of Green Bay and Madison residents have German blood. —German Students Find Familiarity in Wisconsin

…Some reasons why I moved here 20 years ago.  🙂