Friday, September 11, 2009

The Importance of Research

Doing the Stock Cars book has gotten me back in touch with a part of writing I haven't been acquainted with since I was laid off from editing. Research, and lots of it. It's fascinating. It's gruelling. It's frustrating as hell. But there's something satisfying about it. I get kind of the same feeling I get when I'm gardening - on the very few occasions that I end up gardening. Sweaty work, with kind of a gritty, dirt under the fingernails satisfaction.

I'm kind of fanatical about research. I go the Anne McCaffrey way about research. She once said you should know what's in every drawer in any room you imagine, even if you never open them. I want to know everything that happened, from start to finish, every detour, even if I never mention it.

Which is why I have a kind of low tolerance when I see writing that isn't well-researched. Particularly when it's easy research. And especially when you're supposed to be writing like you are the authority on the subject matter. It's easy to throw around opinions. But if you're going to put it in writing, you'd think you'd want to not sound like an idiot. For posterity.

For instance, just today, I read a review of Twilight that a reviewer for Glamour finally lowered herself to read. And lucky us, she decided to do a feminist review. Which is all well and good, predictable and a bit of a predictable crutch, given the material, but okay, I'll roll with it. Someone was bound to do it sometime.

She had four points. They were good points, such as the unrealistic expectations being set up in young girls' minds about men. However, she cited what she considered a fact that Bella doesn't have hobbies. Because she has read all of one of the four books of the series, she said with perfectly firm authority that Bella has no hobbies. That she was too busy cooking for her men to do her homework or to read a book.


Now, I wouldn't call myself a Twilight Saga expert, but I seem to remember Bella being very well-read, an honor student, and versed in music. She was adventurous enough to learn the motorcycle.


My only consolation is that this is now in print for all time. So she gets to look like the lazy elitist ass she is until the end of time.

In other news, Tarot Within Sight (current working title) has had its deadline pushed back to November, thank God. I am now working on revisions for the Stock Cars book.


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