You’ve got chicken nuggets and golden nuggets and probably others I can’t think of. But the nuggets I’m thinking of are information. The mass of information and creativity on paper or online clouds or post-its on walls or just in file after file on your computers. This background world that forms the words we write., that whirl in our minds as we create chapter after chapter. Sometimes a characters background; who they are and where they come from. Or a characters motives, written out to the tiniest detail. The nuggets readers don’t see and may never know of.
Recently I’ve been conducting research for my next scene. Specifically a location. As it’s not somewhere I’ve been or plan to visit the good ol’ google has to do. I found the perfect place and I asked my writing buddy what they thought and they said it sounded good, whilst also adding how funny it is that 90% of this information will never be seen or known by the reader.
Despite that fact you have no choice but to conduct this research. If it isn’t visualised in the writer’s mind in 3D then it won’t come out as the mojo flows from pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
I always dread the thought of research as I really want to crack on with the scene, but it’s essential and when you do get into it, it becomes fun, and you learn something every time. I think the result in your first and even second draft can be a chapter lagged in over-sharing information or what critiquers like to call an info-dump, but that’s all part of the process.
A hundred and fifty edits later and you might find two sentences detailing those hours of browsing and carefully gathered research. Such is the nature of writing. It’s not all creativity, its life and experience. What you see, hear and smell.
I prefer to share my own travelling adventures as I don’t think you can beat that first hand experience, and often I like to include the locations I’ve visited. I feel that there are the little things you see or pick up on that can’t be read or googled. But sometimes this isn’t a possibility and the internet and your imagination can suffice.