A3Writer: Writing Tools: Write then Research
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writing Tools: Write then Research

     Butt in chair, hands on keyboard is hard to pull off as every writer knows. If we complicate that with the added temptation of social media, internet, and everything else, it becomes nigh impossible.
     I've never been overly tempted by the allure of social media, so I don't know how to address that one, but I do know that the internet's siren lure of reference material calls to me whenever I write. I've lost myself in hours of research when all I intended to do was look up a quick geographic fact to insert into my WIP. I was led on a merry romp through various cultural and historical facts about the location that, while enlightening, distracted me.
     Writers obviously need to do research (my students could stand to do a little more), but it's important not to let the research overtake the writing itself. I've learned to incorporate a little journalistic shortcut into my writing by inserting TK (short for "To Come" [don't ask me about the spelling etymology]) as a placeholder for whatever fact I need to insert. Sometimes I'll add in parentheses the specific bit of information I need to look up.
     This works not only for odd bits of reference, but for odd things about the story line or characters I may have forgotten. Yes, I should have a series bible (we all should) but that may not take into account what a character said three chapters ago, or was wearing the day before yesterday. I find TK a quick and dirty way to both remind me and to keep me writing instead of breaking up the creative flow with a trip searching through the internet or the book so far.