I write fiction, I make it all up. I tell lies for a living now. Yep, that's what I do. I used to be a more honest person. In my former career I taught school and I prided myself on my honesty. Not so anymore.

My Daddy was a consumate liar. He was famous for it. He'd tell the same lies so many times that he'd believe them himself. I guess I owe my dad for my gift of writing fiction. He taught me to tell stories. I learned  how to embellish the truth.

An idea pops into my head and I run with it. Easy as pie right? I gave up writing historicals because I didn't have time to do the research. But guess what, even writing contemporary fiction requires research, so I spend many hours gathering facts and articles, maps and pictures all to insure that my stories, while fiction, ring true.

Right now I am working on a romantic suspense set during a major snowstorm in the Atlanta area. Guess what I've been researching?


You got it, the great Snowpocalypse of 2014. I've found so many details of that event to include in my story. When I started developing this plot, I had no idea who my hero would work for, so I reached out to a retired military friend for that information. I waited a couple months for the answers to my questions because he had to get permission to give me those answers. Wow, I was impressed. Maybe he wasn't quite as retired as I thought he was.

Once while working on a story that involved agents from the GBI I called the Atlanta office and talked to an agent. He was very informative. I promised him a copy of that book, but haven't managed to sell it, so he's still waiting. Now maybe I'll pull it out and go the indie route, so I can send him his copy.

I've decided historicals might be easier after all, history doesn't change like contemporary times do. Don't even get me started about sci-fi or paranormal or fantasy. Yes, you make it all up. Yes it's fiction. But you still have to get the details right and that means research.

Don't get me wrong, I love the research. I'll waste... uh work for hours researching. Did I mention I majored in history in college? Well, I did and I love research. I love researching and digging up the little details that make my lies ring true. What about you? How do you make your lies ring true?

11 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // July 18, 2014 at 9:38 AM  

    Excellent post. I spend a great deal of time doing research for my historicals, also the paranormals, and the non-fiction titles I throw in the meld. I can get lost in research, even use it as an excuse to stall, if I'm in a writer's block mode. You can embellish the truth but you have to first know what that is, at least to the best of your ability. Historians don't agree with each other either.

  2. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 18, 2014 at 12:52 PM  

    Beth, you are so right. I love the research. Nothing makes my day like digging out details that I'd never heard of and being able to incorporate them into my story. And as you said, when I can't get my writer's cap to work, I resort to research. That usually primes the pump for me!

  3. Barbara Monajem // July 18, 2014 at 5:27 PM  

    LOL. I think we have a certain amount of leeway in research because we're writing fiction. I want my world to ring true up to a point, and beyond that I get to indulge my imagination.

  4. Mary Ricksen // July 18, 2014 at 5:56 PM  

    Even with world building, you still have to research so things sounds reasonable. The best part of writing is that one if something doesn't work you can always invent a sky hook to take care of it!! LOL

  5. debjulienne // July 18, 2014 at 5:58 PM  

    Great post...as morbid as it sounds, I like it when I can find an incident that helps give credence to research...it helps lend the air of authenticity

  6. Mary Marvella // July 18, 2014 at 6:55 PM  

    Now I know where you got your talent for embellishing the truth. I make up a lot of stuff, and I dig into my memories of movies or other books I have read.

    And I mention the things I need to know to Scarlet and she finds them!

    Go, Scarlet!

  7. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 18, 2014 at 9:33 PM  

    Barbara, I always like to start with a grain of truth and build from there. But MM will tell you I'll stew for hours over which came first the chicken or the egg. Logistics drive me bonkers. I love research and enjoy when MM needs to have some info.

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 18, 2014 at 9:34 PM  

    Mary R. you are so right. I have a fantasy story that has a shape shifting sea turtle, thanks MM, and I had to research the sea turtle for some of the basics, then my imagination took flight.

  9. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 18, 2014 at 9:35 PM  

    Deb, I don't find using historical details morbid at all. In fact I love to take real history and then wrap a story firmly around them.

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 18, 2014 at 9:36 PM  

    MM, you know I get into the details and I enjoy doing your little bits of research. It makes me feel useful to the great grammar diva!

  11. Josie Riviera // August 3, 2014 at 11:49 AM  

    LOL. I write Tudor fiction but spend (waste?) a lot of time gathering up facts.