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Archive for June 9th, 2012

My LIFE was the research for my book

For the next 21 days, we’ll be taking a little detour from the traditional marketing posts you’ve come to know and love on the Marcie Brock blog as I lead by example and follow my own writing prompts for the Author Blog Challenge. There’s still time to register. Join today and qualify for drawings for daily giveaways for every day that you post.

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Day 8 writing prompt:

Describe the research process for your book. Did you interview people? Travel? How prominent a role did the Internet play? If you didn’t do new research, how did you learn what you needed to know to write your book?

My LIFE was the research for my book

OK. That’s admittedly a bit of a smartass response, but it’s also true. When it came to compiling 1,001 real-life questions about being a woman in 21st century America, much of the research came from simply taking notes on the day-to-day occurrences in my life.

But I did not, in fact, experience every situation mentioned in the book. Some of the questions came from incidents that happened to my friends or things I read in … gasp … women’s magazines. That was the first part of the book. Then came the Notes, where the Internet figured heavily into my research.

As mentioned previously, I’m quite aware that this is not the first book of its kind. Besides being a book about being a woman by a woman, the other significant thing that makes my book different is its resource section at the back.

Because the book deals with every issue imaginable facing women today, it felt nothing short of unfair to raise issues, put women potentially in a position to consider dealing with them, perhaps for the first time, and then just leave them hanging. Not every question has an accompanying resource. But the ones raising serious issues (e.g., rape, domestic violence, eating disorders, depression, etc.) do have websites and /or toll-free numbers that might help those who need further guidance around these specific issues.

As the savvy Marcie Brock readers surely know, keeping current tabs on the Web is a thankless job and an often unattainable goal, but I’ve done my best to be sure the resources are and remain current. (I definitely don’t envy the people who put together products like Writers Market, where you can be sure the information is obsolete by the time the book goes to print.)

I cut my teeth as a research librarian at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. That was back in the days before the Internet when we kept hard copies of news articles in drawer after drawer after drawer after drawer of manila envelopes and called people on the telephone to verify facts. When the Internet came along, I was one of the earliest adopters, and I remain in awe of its perpetually updated cornucopia of information.

Research is an essential skill – especially in the age of the Internet. There’s a lot of really good stuff out there, but there’s also a lot of pure, unadulterated rubbish. Trust but verify, a phrase made famous by Ronald Reagan, is a great rule of thumb for any researcher-cum-author.

So get yourself a good search engine; get thee to the library; and get out there and live a little!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

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