March 22nd, 2008

A Pocket Full of Murder

Research Trips -- When?

So let's say that you are writing a book set in some faraway and unfamiliar location, and you are seriously considering taking a trip over to said exotic locale for the purposes of research. You have approximately twelve months before the book is due in to your editor. (You also have three young children and a husband whose work has intensely busy seasons in April-May and September-October, but we'll try not to overcomplicate things.) At what point in the writing process would it be best to plan said trip? I put it to you in the form of a poll:

When is the best time to take a research trip?

In the development stage, so you can get ideas
8(21.6%)
Once you've finished the first draft, so you have a better idea of what you'll really need to know
12(32.4%)
Any time, it really doesn't matter as long as you take good notes
3(8.1%)
It varies with the individual writer/writing style
1(2.7%)
Other, which I will explain in comments
4(10.8%)
No idea, but if you're going somewhere awesome, can I come too?
7(18.9%)
Ooh, look at the shiny radio button!
2(5.4%)

I would especially value the input of fellow authors who have recently done this kind of thing -- did you wish you'd gone earlier in the process? Later? Any other words of wisdom to impart about research trips and what to do or not do when embarking on one?

X-posted from fangs_fur_fey.

ETA: dichroic asked where this faraway, exotic location might be -- for my purposes I'd be looking at parts of Kent, London, and the Cardigan Bay area of Wales.
A Pocket Full of Murder

Bent Chromosomes

When I saw the birthday cards my sons had made for me this year, I was speechless -- but only because I was laughing so hard.

First, from my seven-year-old:

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Then from my five-year-old, whose favorite pastime these days is teasing his father:

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Clearly I have passed on some seriously warped genes to my children. I apologize in advance to all the people that will be forced to deal with their bizarre sense of humor.
Books - Writing

A boy named Rossamund; B7 Update

Since I still fail at the promised book reviews, why don't you have a very fine one of carbonelle's in the meantime? I just read D.M. Cornish's Foundling a couple of weeks ago myself, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Meanwhile, my husband and I are still watching an episode of Blake's 7 every night, and slowly working our way through S1. Tonight's was a good old-fashioned murder mystery, marred only by the inexplicable stupidity of Blake in haring halfway across the galaxy without bothering to double-check his cargo first. Another sad case of Idiot Plot, but since Blake is not ordinarily an idiot (at least not in my estimation) I'll trust that this won't happen again... too often.

As for the rest of the crew:

Dear Avon: You smile like a shark. Please stop doing it, it creeps me out.

Dear Cally: I am relieved to find that you are capable of getting through an entire episode without endangering yourself or the other crew members. Keep it up.

Dear Vila: HEE.

Dear Jenna: Even when you don't do much, you are kind of awesome. How do you do that?

Dear Gan: Uh... I got nothing. But I like you OK, anyway.

No Servalan this episode, which is a bummer. I haven't seen such fabulous fashion sense since Romana I... oh, wait.

Off to bed now...