Thank you for using these Amazon Affiliate links to support our reading.

Writing V Research: Write what you know? with Jenny Brigalow and Giveaway!

Today, author Jenny Brigalow is here with writing advice for all our friends. Her THE CHILDREN OF THE MIST has just been released and there's a giveaway of kindle copy to one commenter!

Jenny around the web:



"Write what you know." A phrase I've seen or heard on a number of occasions. And it has to be said that much of the genius of writer's such as  Jane  Austen and Emily Bronte is derived from their ability to create brilliant works of fiction from relatively small worlds. What would they have achieved today?

To a degree, I think that it is easier to write about what you know. But I don't think I've ever written anything which didn't involve some degree of research. You do hear of writers who go to extremes in research. Some will actually buy and try weapons they intend to write into a scene. I read the other day that one writer went climbing on an ice mountain as part of research. Very brave!

So how much research is enough?  I guess there's no formula for that. Everyone is different. When I write  rural romance I do less, probably because I know a bit more about this. But although I've had cattle and lived on small farms for twenty five years, I'm not a primary producer. So I do have to research the particulars.  One rural romance  is set in North Queensland on a remote cattle property. Now, I've never been to North Queensland, so I had to research this pretty well. Amongst other things,  I learned about natural property boundaries, fresh water crocs and wild pigs! It was fascinating.  And it really set me up to write the story with confidence.

When I fixated on the idea of Morven Smith, I began to imagine who she was and where she lived. Person and place. And Morven, quite simply, was a bit of rebel. Not an anarchist, you understand, but definitely outside the box. And so she ended up on a skateboard. Trouble was I knew about as much about skateboarding as I do about nuclear fission. And so I began research. I started, of course, on the net. I googled skate related sites, watched video's and roamed blogs. Then I watched the kids at the skate parks and on the street. (Probably lucky I wasn't arrested). To round off I was invited by a very talented group of Extreme Skateboarders to watch them in action. Awesome. So, finally I was armed with enough ammo to put Morven and Zest on wheels.

The Children Of The Mist is contemporary but , as in real life, for Zest and Morven the  past and present over- lap. So I had to research Scottish history as a skeletal frame to hang the meat on.

I've always loved history so this was not a chore. In fact, strangely enough, I became so intrigued that I found myself stepping further and further back in time. I wrote a fantasy YA as a spin off, set in the copper age. And I've just been to Scotland to research St Columba as a background for the next part of this series.

So, while I dream of being Austen, I think I'll have to settle for a compromise. For me imagination and information seem to go hand in hand. And let's face it, we have a wealth of information at our finger tips. What a wonderful world!
 
 
 

 

An original paranormal YA about an unconventional girl, an unconventional boy, their extraordinary transformations, and the secrets of the Scottish Highlands.

When skater girl Morven Smith turns sixteen, she develops boobs, acute appendicitis...and a pair of pointy teeth. While she is stunned by her metamorphosis into vampire, her best mate, the enigmatic Zest, is not. For the young werewolf, Morven’s transformation is an answer to his lonely prayers.

But they are unable to celebrate their mutual paranormalcy for long — there are too many dangers, too much suspicion, and too many questions. It’s only in Scotland that Morven can learn the truth about her past. But she discovers more than she bargained for when she meets her birth family — an ancient feud between vampires and werewolves. They may both be Children of the Mist, but only one species can survive.


Read Reviews

Buy Links


Escape         Amazon

Amazon UK

B&N
 
 

33 comments:

  1. Write what one enjoys and it is never work, that is a perk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Pat, thanks for dropping by. I agree entirely. If you're passionate about your project, it is never a chore. Writing rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do love the sound of your story, Jenny and agree completely with the thrill of the chase when researching history! I love the amazing people, places and events that are brought to light and for me the research is almost the best part.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Joana, thanks for sharing. I'm guessing that you'd be an expert at research, writing historical fiction (bit envious). It is fun isn't it? Mind you, sometimes its hard to know when to stop!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jenny, I have been reading a review copy of Children of the Mist, and from your skateboard descriptions I thought you must have chewed your daughter's ear or been a skatie as a teenager. So your research convinced me. I think it is so important to make what we write feel convincing. If we don't know it, we do need to research it. Trouble is, we can get hooked on research and never want to stop!

    I enjoyed your post.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there Denise, it's great to have you here. Very pleased to here that all that my research paid off! What a great excuse to go the whole hog next time. Must agree though, it is addictive. Hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

      Delete
  6. The "only write what you know" buzz phrase has always struck me as foolish. Books have the magical ability to expand our minds and extend our horizons, not just for readers, but for writers, as well. Half the fun is in the research. Besides, where would fantasies and sci fi be if all writers followed that foolish advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan, thanks for dropping in. Must agree with you. Very succinctly put! And I just love your phrase, "Books have the magical ability to expand our minds..."

      Delete
  7. I really love this cover.

    Research should definitely be fun and not a chore. Actually, I think writing in general should be enjoyable. That's why we do it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly. Have to agree there! Thanks for sharing.

      Delete
  8. I've been seeing this title all over, and it looks wonderful! Great article, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Meradeth, glad you enjoyed the article. It's an absorbing subject. Thanks for the chat.

      Delete
  9. I think we need to do enough research to feel confident in our writing rather than to only write about things we've experienced first hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there Patsy, thanks for calling in. It's true, the imagination can only take one so far. I do draw the line at skateboarding myself thought. It looks dangerous!

      Delete
  10. I think enough research to come out with one or two very specific things about the vocation of a character is typically enough, else you bog down your reader and fall prey to the 'look-what-I-researched!' syndrome which breaks the flow of the story.

    Super topic for a post! Best of luck with 'Children of the Mist.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suze! You make an excellent point. There must be balance. It is an intriguing subject isn't it?

      Delete
  11. What about pure make up world where anything is possible trouble is you get half way into reading the book and shut the book and say now thats just too silly.
    I guess stick to what you know and do the research.
    Merle........ ............ ..........

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Merle, lovely to have you on board .Interesting point you make. Must say that fantasy is a very challenging genre. I guess, in the end, perhaps even make believe has to have a root in reality.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jenny's book looks really good! I agree that I like to do some research and also to write what I know. :) Usually I spend time looking up small details that I want to include to make sure they fit with my setting or time period. :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, and welcome! Interesting point. As a reader I think that the fine detail does bring authenticity to a story. Have a good day!

      Delete
  14. Hi Nas and Jenny - I can quite imagine getting caught up in the web of history and know that even the little I do with my posts and visits around the UK - I always want to know more ...

    Finding out about St Columba must have been very enlightening - that era of early Christianity ..and how far they travelled, and how they moved around always amazes me -

    I've just seen the Lindisfarne Gospels at Durham in a special exhibition featuring St Cuthbert and the Gospels themselves - I've yet to write about the exhibition or St Cuthbert's journey ... but the link with St Columba is there, though not quite of the same time zone ... but the influence on Cuthbert would have been huge.

    Now I think It should read Jenny's book .. cheers to you both - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  15. A very interesting post with some equally interesting comments. Research can be a lot of fun and I did quite a bit for my Kidult novel, but I also think when it comes to experiences, your imagination can take you a long way as well, even for things we haven't done ourselves. I can well imagine what it would be like to climb a mountain for instance without actually doing it. Researching the technical aspects is one thing, but feelings and impressions can be evoked! Lovely to research Scottish history and St Columba though. It's fascinating! Thanks for a great post as always :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Val, thanks for dropping in.You're right, research is fun but you have to stop at some point! Imagination is always the key isn't it, in any genre. I see you live on a barge, how lovely. I saw a few in the UK. They look very romantic.I imagine they are a great place to write. Water is very evocative. Thank you for sharing. Happy writing.

      Delete
  16. Hi Hilary its great to meet you. Wow - I'd love to see the Lindisfarne Gospels! I just adored Argyll.. Visited St Columban's cave, St Columban's church ruins (awesome), Dunadd, Carnasserie and Kilmartin museum, Loch Lochgilphead, Loch Sween and Loch Fyne .The wild life was fantastic. Didn't have to time to go to Iona but is on my list next time. So much to see. And cheers to you too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree - reading about history is fun and interesting, so it's not hard to dive into research!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deniz, thanks for dropping by. Sounds like you love your research too! Have a great day.

      Delete
  18. I live inside my head a lot, so I always write what I know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Milo, thanks for dropping by, I just love your way with words!

      Delete
  19. Hi, Jenny: I'm like you. I pretty much write what I know but do have to look up a few things here and there. So glad to have a lot of info available on the Net!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer. We are lucky. The net is a gift. Hard to imagine writing without it! Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  20. Congrats, Jenny! Children of the Mist sounds wonderful!

    I think we writers have to balance what we know and what we need to research in everything we write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cherie, its lovely to meet you. Your words are very wise! Thank you and happy writing.

      Delete
  21. Congrats Jenny! I'm intrigued by Children of the Mist. Willhave to check it out.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete

Join the discussion. What do you think?