Along the way, Inbetween, and at the End.

Some of you may or may not know I am writing about things of I which I have little knowledge. This means that I am perpetually doing research, and I wouldn’t have it any other way – I am learning about all kinds of things, not just about writing!

When I need to look a small fact up, sometimes I find myself rushing back and forth from desktop to laptop (I do not connect to the Internet when I write) and googling things like: history of billiards, when were the first telephone lines installed in Canada, what did the first automobile look like, on what date was the Archduke of Austria assassinated leading to WW1.

Other times, when I dare not interrupt my flow I insert a footnote, and I scribble something hopefully legible on a post-it and tack it to my laptop.


Then there is the research that requires more heft. Sigmund Freud’s published essays. Treatment of clinical depression late 1800. Midwifery late 1800. Arms trading at the onset of WW1. For this purpose I have a notebook that I keep next to me where I chicken scratch all of these topics. (and where I jot all my ideas down pertaining to my book. I then have to sift through each page. I need to acquire at least one more notebook, yet I feel silly designating more than one notebook at a timer per novel.)



Part of me feels that I have to get more organized, so that I can fill in the blanks more efficiently, yet as I write this post, I realize there is a method to my madness.

When do you do your research?

(the ‘green’ notebook is – I have no affiliation with them, other than trying my best to be earth friendly!)

Oh, and I should note that I have not yet done any research prior to beginning a piece. Maybe because I would then realize just how much I do not know and it would become overly daunting.

PS. Question for my readers: do you find the font size too small on this theme?


25 thoughts on “Along the way, Inbetween, and at the End.

  1. Oooh, I love your format. I only have a laptop, so I can’t switch back and forth. When I want to do any serious writing I pack my laptop and a notebook (usually two) and take it to starbucks. Most of the time stumbling on a fact I wasn’t sure on led me to go home. From now on, I shall bring sticky notes too. Thanks so much for the tip!

    1. Oh, your welcome uninvoked, and thank you! Hope it helps….
      By the way, I love getting out to write. The change of scenery just feels good (usually Second Cup for me), although I almost never make the point of doing so. Thanks for the reminder !

  2. I’ve had to do a good bit of research for my current work, but I didn’t do any beforehand. I’ve researched throughout the whole process of writing this novel.

    Even though I’m writing a contemporary novel, I’ve done a lot of research, most of it online, so I’ve bookmarked at least a dozen sites I found useful. If it’s just a bit of info I find, I copy and paste it in the appropriate character’s Notes file. I did buy one non-fiction because it gave me the most insight into an Iranian-American family.

    To answer your second question, it’s probably just my eyes, but the size of the font in this theme is what kept me from using it on my blog.

  3. I really need to get organized! My hang-up is getting started on a system. Once I get it figured out, it should get a lot easier. I wonder sometimes if it is better to keep writing and check facts in the editing process, but it’s really hard for me to keep myself from googling something the instant I think of it. Sometimes, I’ll get in a research rut, chasing rabbit trails wondering this & that, all the while avoiding real work. How much do I really need to know? Most of what I learn will not go into my writing, but I want to know more because it will help me to gain confidence. In the meantime, I lack some of that confidence and feel reluctant to continue until I feel like I’ve adequately researched all the minutiae.

    P.S. I don’t have any problem reading the font. It may be a bit small, but I didn’t notice it as I was reading.

    1. Oh, I know what you mean worldcanwait! that is one of the reasons I began the post-it thing, to keep myself writing. It really depends at the stage I am in. If it is only one little detail here and there, I tend to look it up, sometimes even at the end of that particular writing session. Good luck finding what works with for you!! I hope it comes soon!

  4. I didn’t have to do any research for “Bitter, Sweet,” but only because I was quite in my element while writing. Although it takes place in the past much of what I wrote about are things I’m familiar with even today. What I’m working at now, however, I know very little about but luckily there are many people I know who are able to help me out by relating their own experiences. I find this most helpful because you can hear the story in their voice and it helps set the mood. I also made a trip to my local museum yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by some info I had been looking for. I do sometimes research on line as well.

    As for the font it’s good with or without my reading glasses.!!

  5. Ahhhh, post-it notes and cute notebooks – two of my favorite things! I use them for everything. I bought a big foam poster board and stick notes about everything all over it. It’s light-weight, therefore easy to stick in the closet when I need things to look neat around my desk.

    My favorite post-it notes are by Lotta Jansdotter and they come in a thin cover (looks like a thin journal). They fit in my purse or laptop case and help me keep various thoughts separate, yet in one place, until I get home. Plus, the design is so cute!

    Copy & paste the link to see them…

    Hmm. The size of your font is a little bit small, but like worldcanwait, I didn’t really notice it as I was reading.

  6. I’ve been doing my research as I go. I posted a list of my favorite resources on my blog a few days ago. I probably use Wikipedia most as my jumping off point for research. There are usually good external references listed with most articles.

    When I first started my current novel, I would get bogged down with making sure everything was figured out. Now, I’ll use the review function in Word and insert comments reminding me to look something up, flesh something out, etc.

    I love dense, small fonts. It always seems to lend more weight to the words. I am on the verge of needing some reading glasses, but I’ll get them and continue to enjoy small fonts.

    Great post. I love to see how other people work.

    1. Thanks, Jonathan! One of the great things about blogging is seeing how others work. I’ll come take a look at your post shortly. Sounds like our pattens are pretty similar.

  7. It’s very interesting to read about how you combine research and writing. I’ve never written anything that requires a great deal of research but I think that if I ever do, I will try to do most of the research before writing. I’m too easily distracted by the internet so if I had to stop writing to check some facts I might never get back to my unfinished novel!
    Maybe one day you could write a post about how you choose which parts of your research go into your writing and which parts you discard? I think it must be very difficult to decide which facts are important for your story and which ones are interesting but ultimately not relevant. I’d love to hear how you do it!

    1. thanks, Helen. That’s where self-discipline comes in, and I usually only google small things while writing, that way I don’t waster all my time on it. Larger pieces i prefer to use actual texts. Usually the library. Thanks for hanging me a post 🙂

  8. I research because I love to do research, and when I write my novel, I probably use about 10% of the facts that I’ve acquired. The other 90% just east brain files, but I love it! 😉

    Nice post!


  9. I love that your writing process is like mine. The notebook I’ve been using for the past year will come to an end in about two weeks – just the deadline my publisher has given for my first book. It’s a great fullstop, but I’m nervous about doubly starting empty 😦
    Nice to stumble into this place.

  10. I love this subject, Jennifer! Research is my favorite part!

    The problem can be in stopping the research in favor of actually writing. I initially spent about a year researching ancient Egyptian life before I started writing my novel.

    In the end, I have at least a dozen notebooks filled with ideas, facts, questions, links, etc. And I have a collection of over 30 books on various Egyptian topics: daily life of Egyptians, Egyptian gods and goddesses, alien theories, pyramid and sphinx theories, etc etc etc.

    What I love most….is finding the gaps in history…and thinking of paranormal ways of filling them! 🙂

    Thanks for a great topic!!

    1. Thanks immortaldiva! When something is fascinating, well the research is such pleasure! I have always wished I could spend my life as a student, gathering degree after degree in all different fields. In a way, writing enables me to do just that!

      Sounds like you were meant to write that book!

  11. Love the pictures of your notes and your journal!

    I don’t find the font too small.

    I research as I go usually, but Ron Carlson writes in his book, Ron Carlson Writes a Story that he never stops the flow. Research is for another time. So good for you!

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