Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Things they don't tell you about being a writer Pt4

Have you ever been to a dinner party or a night out where there was one person who seemed to know everything about everything? Every conversation that was started they had something to contribute to it? Even though they looked like a completely normal person and not the least bit like the nerds you had a vision of in your mind thanks to the movies???

PREPARE TO BECOME THAT PERSON....
Because having survived the whole computers/fingerfood/aching RSI's you are now entering the part of your writing career that involves... RESEARCH...
You've done well to avoid it so far. Maybe even as far as three or four books in, due to your many and varied careers as diverse as flipping burgers to Public Relations. And hey, they always told you 'write what you know', right?? But then you start to get ambitious you see, you look for more interesting plots, you delve deeper into your imagination for heros and heroines outside of your comfort zone. And it's at this point that you realize that readers are an educated bunch of people. Not only do they read (and hopefully enjoy) what you write, they are not the least bit shy about coming forward and telling you when you've got something wrong... E-mail is a wonderful invention...

So, you like to get things as right as you can, and realistically with as little as effort as possible... In the olden days, when someone still had to run with a red lamp in front of your car and you still had to bring a lump of coal to school to sit a row closer to the stove (which incidentally is when my neices and nephews honestly think is when I went to school...- nothing like a new generation to remind you that you're not eighteen anymore no matter how you may try to kid yourself...) we still used libraries. You know, big quiet place with tonnes of books in??? And you carried your little ring notebook and a pen that leaked onto your clothes in your pocket. Ahhh, the good old days... And I really do believe on darker days I'd have been hell on legs at going 'Shhhh' really loudly at people with coughs... But nowadays we have... ta-da... the Internet!!!

You like the Irish Google btw?? A favourite of mine for obvious reasons... And I can now tell you that, thanks to my most recent research, Google went 'live' in 1998, but was preceded by earlier search engines that started in Universities as early as 1994... (Yes, we are that old...) And see how useful research can be??? Would I have been able to tell you that if I hadn't needed to know that my heroine was watching my hero's rising career via the internet eight years ago? No, I would not. Why would I? What use would that information have been to me in daily life? Could I have told someone in the queue in the supermarket without them smiling sarcastically at me in answer?? (try it in your own supermarket queue 'til you see. I dare you!)

Nope. What it means is that another thing they don't tell you about being a writer is that you will become a mine of useless information. You will become a nerd. You will be that person at Dinner parties and social gatherings that has something to add to nearly every conversation, even when you don't know everyone else that's talking and therefore enter that minefield where-in someone in that crowd may be an actual expert.... You will end up almost doing the pee-pee dance that kids in primary school do when they *really* need to go, at the very hint of someone knowledgably informing the group of something you know isn't true. And you know because you had to research it for your last book or the book before and the information just kinda stuck...

On the up side, it does make we writers an interesting bunch of people to talk to, on the down side we may humiliate ourselves by trying to ask people directly for information we couldn't Google (is that possible!?). And on the really down side we become known as one of those irritating people at dinner parties. SO BEWARE... Or the glamorous writer image could translate to others as this...


Don't say I didn't warn you... And try to think of this at your next social gathering so you remember my ramblings...

There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you're busy interrupting...

2 comments:

Michelle Styles said...

I think I must be a nerd. I love researching. I get frustrated with the internet because it doesn't tell me enough. Maybe one short paragraph on the subject. Books are far more intersting. The floor of my study is currently littered with them.And I am between books! Actually I am writing an article about research -- so I have an excuse...

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot!
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