Planning a Novel : Research

After outlining for my mystery novel I start my research. There are four areas where I mostly conduct my research: Names, Job, Setting and Similar Stories.

Names

I always start with character names when researching. Part of me feels like if I know their names before I start creating them I will know more about them very quickly. I like to pick somewhat different, unique names. I also like to look at their meaning, hoping it will describe the character somehow.

Below are a couple of websites I use for names:
Nameberry
Babynames.com
Sheknows

Job

Then I move onto what my characters do for work. If I don’t know too much about their jobs then I will look up a brief description of their duties. If their job is important to the story then I will dig deeper so I have plenty of references to use.

Right now the main characters are hairstylists, a teacher and of course law enforcement.

Setting

Next I decide where the story will take place. Either in a real city or one I create. So far I’ve only created the cities for my stories. Mostly because I can create every aspect of the town instead of learning every minuscule detail of a real town.

The town where my novel takes place is in the fictional town of Lander, VT located in the Northeast Kingdom. Personally I’ve never been but the pictures are absolutely beautiful. I’m excited at using this location.

Similar Stories

Since this is a mystery novel I’ve been reading more crime novels and researching similar cases. I like to see how other authors set up their characters and how the investigation unfolds. It helps me gauge if my story is flowing smoothly and makes sense.

Do you research? How does it help you? What websites do you use?

Planning a Novel: Outlines

The current novel I am working on is a mystery series. I had actually intended it to be a romance novel but I learned very quickly I am just not capable, at this time anyway, to write in that genre.

Once I figured out I wanted it to be a mystery I needed to plan out what would happen. Ideas, characters flooded my mind. Quickly I decided on the main characters, a short background history, who the victim and murderer were and why the act was committed.

I found myself labeling each section as scenes. Scene 1 I introduce the main character, Scene 2 I introduce her work life, etc. Sometimes a scene is just a couple of sentences, other times it includes very detailed description of events and dialogue.

I firmly believe there is no right or wrong way to plan your outline. Some people know what they want to write and stick to it while I am sure others change their minds daily on what direction they want to go.

For me an outline lets me see what I’ve built, what I need to add, if there are any plot holes and how it’s all going to come together.

Do you outline? How detailed do you get? Do they help you or just add more stress?

Below are a couple of helpful links on creating outlines:

Writers Digest
The Writing Cooperative
The Write Life

Facing Obstacles 

So I’ve realized that I don’t have enough material to finish my novel. *sigh*

The last couple of days have been filled with brainstorming, index cards and lots and lots of editing. *double sigh*

Think my next step is to research crimes similar to the ones that happen in my novel. Thinking it might help me see what steps I might be missing in an investigation or provide inspiration for the narrative.

This is definitely a set back in regards to the timeline I gave myself. I’m trying not to be negative or down about the situation but reminding myself that this is all new to me and that it is important to learn now and grow as a writer so in the future I will have a better grasp of how to complete a novel in a timely manner.

Most importantly I must not give up and keep going forward!

Hope your writing adventure is going well! Let me know of any setbacks you’ve had and how you overcame them! 🙂

Needed to Regroup

Needed to take a couple days away from social media to regroup and focus on writing. Unfortunately I discovered I don’t have enough material for my novel. I wasn’t 100% percent sure I had enough ideas anyway so I’m not too surprised.

The only real bummer is that I put myself on a deadline to have this novel done by the end of September and this may set me back. My goal is I have to write two pages a day. Sometimes it is a breeze and other times it feels like I am learning to write all over again. Can y’all relate?

Trying to stay focused and determined to stay on track. Means I may not be able or have enough energy to give with networking. Feel like I am no good at it anyways. I’m a pretty private person in general so it’s been hard to think of what to share, what to talk about. Hopefully I can find a balance – I’m all about balance! ha – between everything.

Until then…

Happy Weekend

Summer night fun…

Got a full weekend of writing ahead of me. Not that I’m complaining. It’s going to be hot, hot, hot outside.

Really pushing myself to work on my novel so I can finish it soon. I have no idea how long it will take me to find an agent and get this novel out there. I keep imagining the worst but realistically I have no idea how long it will take. Trying to stay in denial for as long as possible! hahaha

Happy weekend everyone.