Friday, September 28, 2012


This blog will be short today. Originally it was to be about my conference experiences and the fun we had in Dallas last week, but I saw that Lena is posting that on Monday, so I'll let her tell you all about it. 

One thing is for sure, I learned a lot about what I don’t know concerning marketing and publicity. Now to absorb all the information and try to understand what was said in the workshops I attended. That will most likely take a few weeks.

At the moment, I am in the first editing process with Lori on my latest manuscript. The story is loosely based on my great-grandparents love story after the Civil War. A mixture of real and fictitious towns and areas make up the story, but Lori said they all needed to be real towns. Okay, I could do that. Well, it turns out that is more difficult than I thought.

First I had to find real towns along the route my great-grandfather took from Pt. Lookout Maryland back to Louisiana. Google Maps provided the towns, but then I had to research the town to see if it existed in 1865. If it didn’t, I was back to searching the map for another town. Once I thought the route down to Tennessee was all set, and then in working the miles, I realized they couldn’t have gone that far in the number of days allowed.

Now the time line is involved and the miles they traveled and the terrain of the area played into the equation and had me rethinking the route. Some of the places my great-grandfather had mentioned in letters either no longer existed or didn’t show up on the maps I had. Needless to say, this editing is taking longer than usual.

Had I done the research first and used real towns as I wrote the story and incorporated fictional events in with the real, things would be going a lot smoother. Editing and rewriting and making the story stronger are my favorite part of writing, but this time much more is involved.

Research can be fun, and I enjoy doing it because I’m always learning new things. I just wish I’d used the real towns to begin with and had researched them first. It would have been a lot easier on me and probably on Lori, too.

What is your take on research? Do you enjoy doing it or does it become a chore when the findings don't always match what you want to do in your story.


Jillian Kent said...

Hi Martha,
I love research but the danger for me is that it can be way too engrossing. And then if there is a rush during the edit process I think that can be difficult manage. Hang in there as you work through this challenge.

Deb Moss said...

May I state that as a copy editor I definitely appreciate the research that goes into the book during the writing and editing stages!