Okay, so much for my plotting idea. My novel plotting is taking a while as I'm very very busy at the moment with exam candidates for GCSE and A level. My desk is clear at the moment, but will soon be covered again in essays.
On the plus side, I had my weekly creative writing meeting with kids from my school and that was great. It's really liberating to listen to their ideas. Kids take so many more risks than adults. This particular group are at the stage when they are really creative. Perhaps I'll get some of their work and post parts, so you can see what I mean; I'll see whether they're happy for that to happen.
On to my real post. Research. When I first started writing fiction I didn't think research was necessary but I guess I was doing it without realising.
My first unpublished novel was set in a boarding school and as I taught in one at the time, a lot of my research came from my everyday experiences. My second one was based on a lot that I already knew and events that had been recounted to me by people, but I did research the history and setting in detail and I read a number of books in similar genres, to help. One of my characters, although minor, was in the military so I read a book told from a soldier's point of view to gain an impression of how he would think and act.
As far as my non-fiction writing and educational material goes, research is a must. Again a lot of the material I write draws on what I know, having taught texts or skills in the same area but again, I supplement this by reading the biographies of writers whose texts I'm writing study guides on. I like to have as much insight as possible.
So, how and where to research? I go to the absolutely fantastic British Library. If you've not been there- go!
And, if you're a member of the Society of Authors you can get a three year reading pass which means you have access to the wonderful reading rooms. The library's website is great too as the catalogue of books is actually accessible from it and you can reserve books via the website. You can also order and download papers or articles.
It's an amazing place and I only discovered it last year! Getting excited about a library, whatever next!
Other ways to research? Read books in similar genres to your target market or the book you intend to write. Go to places that feature in your novel. Talk to people who do what your characters do or have had similar experiences. Get as much information as possible to help you make your novel as believable as possible.
Well, that's the theory. Now, time for the practice.