Story Research: 9 Steps to a Pain-Free Interview

Like it or not, research is part of a writer’s job. We have a duty to our story to make sure we’re getting the details right. It’s a duty to our readers, as well. You will never know what knowledge your reader is coming to your book with, and you don’t want them to be distracted from your story because of factual errors.

As writers, we might think that simply doing a few searches online and using our imaginations is enough, but there’s no substitute for doing an interview someone with knowledge in your area of interest, whether through vigorous study or life experience. Maybe it’s just my journalist side talking, but I don’t think that there’s anything that can replace a first-hand account when it comes to learning about events, eras or cultures that you’re not familiar with.

Interview

How do I decide when a formal interview is necessary?

Interviews should never be your first course of action. Make sure that you’ve spent at least a week researching your before interviewing someone. Neither of you wants to spend the time it takes to do an interview for information you could have found on your own.

(If you need help with starting your research, read “How to Cut the Crap and Research Your Novel Efficiently” from Kristen @ She’s Novel.)

Of course, if you’re close to someone who knows a lot about a particular subject, it might be a lot easier to simply pick their brain whenever you have a specific question instead of digging around on google to find reliable sources. Even though this might be a more informal form of interviewing, it’s still good manners to make sure they’re comfortable with answering your questions, and to make sure to thank them in a meaningful way for their help.

Part One- Planning

So you’ve done some thorough background research, but you’re still a little fuzzy on some aspects of your topic or missing that last little bit of information you need to complete your vision. None of your friends are interested in your topic, and you know that this piece of information is vital for your story. It’s time to start planning your interview, my friend! To make the first few steps easier, I’ve even and made you an awesome Pre-Interview Worksheet!Read More »

8 Practical Tips for Loving the Writer in Your Life

Loving a writer isn’t easy, to the point that there’s quite a few people who will try to tell you to just avoid it altogether. We can be emotional, insecure, and sometimes, overly devoted to our craft. We have wild imaginations that don’t always work in our favor, and we don’t always have the best people skills. Just being in our lives means we might steal little pieces of you -or far more- and give them to our characters, and there’s a chance it won’t be the nice things.
Still, there’s also something beautiful about being in love with someone who feels things down to their core. Writers are curious and inventive, willing to try just about anything if they think it might give them something to use in a project someday. We’re very empathetic creatures, able to put ourselves in others shoes like they are characters in our stories. We’ve learned about love from studying the classics, and aspire to have relationships like those in our favorite stories.Read More »

The 7/7/7 Challenge (Meet My WIP)

Alright, so I’ve been nominated by the lovely Rae over at The Wallflower to complete the 7/7/7 Challenge. You can find her super awesome contribution, which makes me so excited to read the rest of her story, here. If you’re note familiar with the challenge, here’s a super quick rundown:

  • Go to page 7 of your WIP
  • Find line 7
  • Share lines 7-14 (7 lines) somewhere on the internet
  • When you’re done, nominate 7 other writers to post their own excerpts

MEET MY WIP

I’m also really excited about this because I’ve FINALLY DECIDED ON A STORY IDEA FOR THAT NOVEL I’M SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING THIS YEAR! It’s something that started with an idea I had when I was very little, but really came into bloom about a year ago because of a notecard I’d written a random writing prompt on:

This group is composed of four people with differing views on trade. They are all women.

Not a very exciting prompt, right? That’s why I’d chosen it out of the group, but now I have this massive New Adult Fantasy on my hands that I am VERY intimidated by, but can’t wait to share with all of you. Now that we all know what’s up, it’s time to share that excerpt, although I will remind you that this is from a RD and I have a propensity for excessively long sentences:

Lord Ragan Carmar had read the enthusiastic letter from his wife a dozen times, but was still trying to comprehend the magnitude of the project that she had proposed to the Council. Dreori said it was supposed to start small, but it seemed that she and the other three women left in charge had decided to add a small city to the already bustling Cathara. It was a brilliant concept, of course, but it was going to be expensive to execute. Ragan had actually found himself on the verge of tears the first and second times he’d read over the proposed budget for the “Center of Arts and Learning,” which his wife had so thoughtfully included in her letter. His fears were somewhat assuaged by the note written in her neat hand at the bottom of the formal document:

“It might be wise to mention to King Hammond that this project will doubtlessly benefit Illanya’s topnotch craftsmen. Their help would be needed to not only build the Center, but we would be honored if some of them remained to share their learning.”

It’s not a particularly compelling excerpt from my freewriting session last year, but it’s a good way to introduce the heart of my untitled story, the center that Dreori is describing. I won’t spoil anymore for you, even though I could gush all day about how beautiful and complicated this world is.

Now, if my list of nominations seems a little odd, that’s because I’ve nominated a few of my twitter followers that I just want to hear more from about their stories. Naturally, even if you’re not on this list, feel free to pretend I’ve nominated you and participate, as long as you link to your piece in the comments so that I get to read what you’ve written. Of course, linking back here is always welcome as well!

Nominations:

  1. Brandy Frank
  2. Victoria Fry
  3. Laura @ Ginger & Books
  4. Annie Hawthorne
  5. Jessica @ My Awkward Life
  6. Stefanie MacWilliams
  7. Katie Masters

Make sure to send me a link to see your posts, ladies!

Lots of love,

Nicole

August Wrap-Up and a SUPER IMPORTANT AND AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT

Hey everyone!

First off, sorry I’ve been almost completely absent on Twitter this week! I started school, and it’s been pretty intense and weird and exciting, but I’ll talk about that a little more later. I promise I’m not going to disappear anytime soon, especially with all the awesome things I have planned for this month and more.

I thought that because August was such a crazy month for me, I wanted to share some of the things that have happened, and also share how Spun From Ink is doing. I want to make sure I’m being as transparent as possible with you guys, especially since there’s so many awesome things that I want you to be a part of as I start moving this blog forward. Make sure to start keeping an eye out for these kinds of posts at the beginning of every month so that you can know about all the amazing things headed your way!

AUGUST 2015 WRAP-UPAugust Wrap-Up and Review

Posts From August:

August Reading Goals (Keep reading to find out how I did!)

Using Life Experiences to Supercharge Your Writing Series:

This Is Not The Post You’re Looking For

Read More »