Have you ever had to do research? For an essay or term paper? For a book? For information about something you knew nothing about, but now need to know? I’ve done all of those things, most recently, for a book.
Like a lot of Americans, I’ve been a football fan. I’m from NoCal so I’ll admit to being an Oakland Raider fan. My brother is a referee and he’s been a big football fan since before I was born so when I eventually started watching he taught me a lot about the game. I used to watch religiously, but now I don’t even watch the Super Bowl.
But now that I have a football story I’m working on, I think I’ve learned more about the game than I ever thought I’d know. First, I asked a co-worker some questions to help me solidify my plot outline. Then, once I started writing, I had to do some research. Mostly about the draft, but I’m sure at some point it will be about something else. I’m going to pull out the snippets that involve football and see what my co-worker thinks. If Michael thinks the football related parts sound okay, I’ll just keep moving along. If something’s not right though, I’ll have to go back and fix it.
For now, I still have a long way to go. I have about 10K words on a book that could go as high as 60K. I have almost half of the first part of the book done. I’ve got a few bits and pieces of the latter half done as well. A couple of scenes. But all that research is stuck in my head now. Mostly, I found this fascinating list of a dozen of the highest paid rookies. Ten of the twelve were NFL players and they told how much these guys signed for and how much the signing bonus was. WOAH. We’re talking some serious numbers although there was at least one on the list whose numbers were lower due to the salary cap instituted some years ago. The guys in my book would have signed before the cap so I gave them numbers like 32 million and 40 million with a few million in signing bonuses. That’s so much money I just can’t even imagine it.
Once this story is done, my next bout of research will be emailing with a co-worker’s son who is a professional ballet dancer. Instead of salary caps and signing bonuses in my head, I’ll have ballet moves. And that information will reside in my head until that book is done and the next bout of research replaces it.
Writing paranormal stories means I can make up whatever I want. No research. Just world building. I do that in my head. I lay down to take a nap and start planning the creatures and how the world works. I do this over and over for a few weeks until the world is pretty fixed in my mind. Then I write.
For now, I’m enjoying my football story. It’s more serious and more dark than any contemporary I’ve ever written. It deals with coming out, risky sex, HIV and AIDS as well as the media. I mess with these two heroes quite a bit before I let them have a Happily Ever After. I’ve sent the partial (the first three chapters) to the publisher and now I have to wait to see if they want the book. I hope they do. I’ve wanted to get in with this publisher for quite awhile but I never had the right vehicle before. Cross your fingers for me!
Before I head in to work, here’s a Marcus for this Monday morning.
Ah, one of my favorite photos of him! Sure brightens up my rainy Monday morning. I hope everyone has a great day!