by / Tuesday, 29 May 2012 / Published in Everyday Life, The Writer's Life


Okay so my dog Sally has nothing to do with this blog on research, I just needed a nice picture and besides – she is famous after all. Did you know she was on page 3 of the Weekend Australian. ūüôā

Now¬†thanks to Karin, who asked about my research process, I will attempt to share with you how I go about it, research that is.¬†(I’m sorry if you fall asleep whilst reading this.)¬† When I decide to write about something in particular, say shearing in Heart of Gold, then I research it further.¬† Seeing as I had worked in a shearing shed, I knew most of it. But I’d never shorn a sheep, or even knew how to do it¬†correctly. Now Lindsay, my male lead character, is a brilliant shearer, so for him to know…I had to know.

Yes, I could have thrown on my boots and headed out to the nearest shearing shed to hassle a few shearers but first I tried the internet. Being a long way from a library the internet is a huge source of info for me.¬† And what did I find…a total step by step guide on shearing, with drawn diagrams too.¬† This was like striking gold! It gave me the right terminology and specifics to make Lindsay (and me) sound like¬†we knew what we were doing.

I find I have to research the whole thing, all the little details, just so I can use some of them. I need to have a full understanding before I can write about it, even if I’m only touching on a subject.¬† Like for Lindsays broken arm. I¬†would scan through the web, sucking up all sorts of information on breaks/compound¬†fractures etc.¬† I can sometimes¬†come across stories or different information which may lead me onto a new idea.¬†¬†If need be,¬†I may even talk to a nurse¬† for a bit of back up.

Most of the time I can harass my family for information. My fourth book I needed information on working for a bank. So I contacted my cousin who works at one, I also talked to our local bank man. There are so many resources at our finger tips. I also love hearing stories first hand from people as the simple little things can really make the difference. Like the workings of a country bank may be different to a city bank.¬† A lot of the time I think its the research process that can make my stories as I can have an idea and when I start to do the research I’ll happen upon something different and all of a sudden my story has run off in another direction. This is a good thing, most of the time.

Have you gone to sleep yet? Am I making any sense? Probably not, my hubby has trouble keeping up with my skittish mind.

What I’m really trying to say is my research is all over the place. I’ll talk to people or use the internet and through this process I somehow manage to build up a story. I was talking to a lovely lady for my 5th book research and she was telling me about her daughter and what she does. OMG, light bulb moment. This was the perfect job for my character. So ideas can grown from something as simple as that.

I love the fact that on the internet I can get all sorts of different information. So if i’m looking up on broken bones, I get stuff on all the different broken bones. So what started as a broken leg¬†grows into a broken tibia which needs surgery and screws. Then I read that they have to wear a¬†boot and that gives me an idea on needing home care which introduces another character into my book.¬†And off my mind goes, plotting again.

Okay, so I’m going to leave it there before even I get lost in all my ramblings.¬† I’m not sure if that cleared anything up! Hopefully Karin, you will¬†get something from this lol.

Now back to plotting and researching book 5. (Which I won’t name until i’ve finished writing it. It seems easyer that way.)

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