Ignoring the Siren Call of Things Not Known

When I am writing a story, I love to research what I’m writing. This is true when it’s a subject I’m fairly familiar with, like cooking or crafting, and it’s also true with subjects I don’t have much experience in, like outdoor survival skills or variants in algebra. When I run into those things I’m not familiar with, I make sure to stop and do my research and sometimes that siren call pulls me from my projects.

It’s always been important to me to make sure that I do my research before and during the writing process to understand what I’m writing about. If it’s a subject important to my characters, I need to understand it myself to be able to explain it in the story authentically. It can be a simple process when the question and answer are easy to understand and I slip into the experience with my character easily. It can also be a really complex process, like what I’m finding myself experiencing in writing MS:L. I can confidently write the moments and beats where my characters are interacting, where brother and sister are fighting or the best friends are arguing or the two characters are falling for each other because I know those experiences intimately. What I can’t confidently write are the moments and beats where my characters are opening and closing a circle for a ritual they’re performing or the experience of gathering with a large community to mark a celebration on the magical calendar. So, I start to research. Each piece of information I find leads me to another I want to know more about and then another. I want to continue down the paths because I love learning, I want to know more about these things, and I want to keep growing my characters and myself. The problem then is that I get pulled away from the writing and the manuscript and I know the answer is to continue adjusting my process to give time for this both before and during a project.

I found this happening a lot last week. I am at a point in the story where my characters are coming up on important celebrations on the calendar. They are working both with their families and for my characters in school, in their coursework to prepare for those celebrations. I did research on what kinds of things happen during those celebrations and how they prepare, but I’m finding that I want to know the elements more confidently as I write them. I paused quite a bit to do more research and find more detailed answers to my questions. It helped, but of course, there is only so much time during the week and that time I needed to use to research had to come from my writing time. That means I ended last week two chapters behind where I wanted to be, BUT I was able to research a few things I needed to for the story. For those things that I couldn’t research, I made sure to write notes in my Happy Planner notebook to go back to later. Writing this manuscript, just as writing any manuscript, is a learning experience and I intend to use what I find during my reflections to plan better in the future. This week I’m hoping to catch up on those chapters and keep moving the story forward. I have fourteen chapters to go and I am really excited to see how the characters react as everything begins to amp up. There are a couple of things that happened in the story that i was not expecting and to see how that effects what the characters do and how they react from here until the end is something I am really looking forward to.

Remember, you are more than enough.

Happy Writing!

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