I have always been an avid admirer of writers who manage to keep multiple balls in the air at once. They manage new work on one manuscript with research on the next project running at the same time, perhaps with editing of the last manuscript (or two) on the sidelines.
I’ve never been able to do that. I am a great finisher, but getting started on anything is always the hard part for me. I need to build up a substantial head of steam to break the ice on any new project.
That’s the reason why when I am in the very beginnings of a new project, the story research is just about as much as I can manage to squeeze into my brain. This is really just fuel for the formation of the storyline (which I create in a fair amount of detail) and the broader canvass of the world and characters. Every new research direction (very much driven by intuition) is compared against some intangible sense for what the story will be. Then it is either expanded on or discarded. Once in a while I ‘break through’ and major piece of the story puzzle falls into place, inspired by that leap-frogging from research fragment to fragment.
So – is this research writing? It is part of my process. It is crucial to the formation of the story – which I need to have ‘front-loaded’ into my brain before the words begin to flow – yet it is not actual ‘words on a page’.
I guess I’m trying to make myself feel better for this huge chunk of time when I don’t actually write anything other than story notes – while the compelling voices in the wilderness continue cry ‘you must write, write, write!’
So what do you think about the research-writing spectrum? Does research qualify as writing? Or am I just a slack writer who can’t multi-task?
PS: Thanks to everyone who entered The Calvanni giveaway. The winners have been selected by Goodreads and the books will be on their way in the next couple of weeks. We had two winners from the USA, one from Canada, one from the UK and another for India. Congrats!