Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Little Words

source- Amazon.com

Research is a necessity of writing no matter what genre you WIP is. Historicals demand research into the era they are set in. Mysteries and suspense usually need police or detective procedure. SF is based on science in some way and fantasy has myth as its underpinning. It's the little truths that make stories and characters breath.

My WIP is no different. For example, my main character is a retired history teacher and I didn't have to go far to research her background and life since I'm a retired history teacher. ; ) But the character who changes my MC's life is an abused foster child. I've researched the foster care system and interviewed foster and adoptive parents and the case workers who work with them. That left the main research I needed to be from a foster child's POV and that interview would require an entirely different level of sensitivity.

Thankfully, the foster child came to me. The Department of Family and Children Services case worker I've interviewed suggested I read Ashley Rhodes Courter's Three Little Words. Courter is an amazing young woman who spent ten years in the foster care system of Florida. Her memoir is harrowing and revealing. With a foster child's first person testimony to refer to, my plot has deepened. Samantha's reactions have become based in reality. My story's layers have grown in complexity. I'm grateful for the help to make Samantha a more three dimensional character.

Research can take so many different forms.

Where do you get your little truths to layer into your story?
What is your dream research source that you need to make your story real?

I can only wish that you find as good a source as I have. Happy digging!


  1. My dream is to take a recreated 15th century ship all the way from Spain to Turkey :-)
    Otherwise, I just love reading. This past weekend I read a few books about Shakespeare; he's nearly a century out of my time period but it was helpful when the authors made comments like "this is how London used to be, and then this happened in Shakespeare's time..." (gearing up to write Santiago's story!)

    1. Good luck, Deniz! I do love research so. I'm reading a book that was suggested in the back of "Three Little Words"--"Parenting the Hurt Child". I've already marked 4 places for reference and I've just started the first chapter.

  2. What a great thought Zan. And a good book recommendation, even though I'm not writing about that. The only thing about research is, its easy to get sucked into tangents, because it is frequently so interesting. Suddenly you are thinking, gee, at some point I'd better start writing… :-).
    Thanks for the advice. I've got a piece that is WWII era, and some of the that research has been fascinating. But I never considered all the other characters, and how they affect the story.

    1. Glad my suggestion makes sense. WWII is a fascinating time. Good luck in your research.

      I've found I need to get a handle on the story before I go digging. That way, my digging is less likely to drag me down a wrong way street. ; )


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