CAMPNANO (APRIL 2016) UPDATE #1: Research? What research?




We’re off on our first Camp NaNo (NaNo event, period) of the year!

Don’t know what Camp NaNo is? Read up on it HERE, sign up, pack like mad (don’t forget the Internal Editor repellent!) and come on over for the rest of April.

*tosses confetti…then sweeps for hours grumbling to idiot self*

I was planning to do vlog updates this year as well, but I can’t seem to get the lighting right. I’ll see what I can do and jump in with vlogs if I can in the future. For now this 1st post is coming to you through the old-fashioned method. No not hand and paper because I never quite plan posts out (not nearly as much as I should anyways).

So I’ll be talking about something fun today, something I’ve had to slay before starting my current WIP. I say fun, but I mean fun for me maybe not for you.

*drum roll*


Wait! Don’t run away just yet. I’m not going to bore you…or scare you.

Some writers don’t like to research, but I promise this post is as much for you as it is if you LOVE to research.

I actually fall in between. I don’t approach research bouncing out of my chair from all the excitement, but I’m also not headdesking on my keyboard.

I’m sure I might be leaning towards one or the other depending on where you catch me in the WIP…


Before starting the WIP

You’re prepping your WIP, outlining or maybe just doing research to store away in your head or in a bullet journal or sticky notes or wherever.

One pro and one con of researching BEFORE writing your WIP are:

CON: You might be scared out of starting at all! I’ve done this with many a WIP, tucking them away and convincing myself I’d pick them up later “when I was better informed”… PSSSSHFT! Trust me, if you’re anything like me and you’re using that as an excuse to procrastinate and follow a ‘shinier’ idea then STOP, turn around and sit your butt down, get those hands on the keyboard or grabbing that pen and scribbling all the story things in your notebook.

Trust me, I’m doing you a favor in the long run.

PRO: You’ll stand a little stronger for it. Some WIPs will need research, that’s just that. It’s about determining HOW much research you need to do that counts.

During the WIP

You’re 200 words in, 2000, maybe you’re closing up the climax and hitting resolution time, wherever it is you’ve got your hands messy in first draft land.

One pro and one con of researching DURING writing your WIP are:

CON: You’re researching too much again and soon your WIP is left by the wayside while you slip and tumble into Researchland forevermore…or the less bleak indefinitely.

PRO: Researching en route might help you dream up new scenes, get new angles of your character and overall jump start you into the right direction. But see above for what too much research/prolonged research can do to said inspiration…

You’re done the WIP

You’ve hit the end and you close up your document for now. A much-deserved break is what you need…but wait? Edits and revisions are awaiting you. What to research? (Hint: edit and revision how-tos, jk!)

One pro and one con of researching AFTER writing your WIP are:

CON: You freak yourself out from coming back to the WIP. Hey! It’s done. Why do you have to touch it in all its glorious mess? *ahem* Well…. if you’re thinking of publishing –


*pulls out megaphone* You need to research dude!

PRO: The research can help light that spark in your passion hearth to set you ablaze and rushing into your WIP’s edits and revisions glowing with optimism.


There you have it?

Noticed a pattern yet?

No, I didn’t actually copy and paste. I realized that a lot of the same researching problems plague all the stages of your story. It doesn’t have to be this horrible necessary element of your storytelling.

Some tips and tricks that can make research easy:

-take it in bits and pieces; research what comes up and what you feel you have to know before you move on

-are you an artsy person? would you like to be? make the research fun! Find a notebook, designate it solely for your WIP and collect all the research-y things in there. Color, cut and glue, whip out the gel pens and anything else that will prettify the notebook

-note the areas of your WIP that need research and go back in and fill it later. I use Word, so my track changes are a wonderful feature to keep track of all my notes to self

Above all else, and you’ll hear this a lot in the global writing community, HAVE FUN!

If you want to fork your eyes out then you’re doing it wrong.

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