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Moments of a Writer's Life, #23


The Moment I Realized You Can’t Just Make It All Up: Sure, they call it fiction for a reason. And with Waiting for Dead Men’s Shoes, with the exception of getting some very minor medical and legal advice, I pretty much made everything up. But as I got deeper into writing Falling for Prince Charles, I realized that if I wanted certain aspects of my nutty-as-a-fruitcake novel to be authentic – and I did! – I was going to have to do some research. This meant reading all kinds of books on the royal family and their lifestyle, to the point where I knew my exchequer from my beadle and could draw a blueprint of Buckingham Palace in my sleep. (Did you know the queen has a real birthday and an official birthday? It’s true!) The process taught me two things: 1) the mere act of doing research can organically spur creativity in the form of ideas one has not thought to include before; and 2) I like knowing stupid little stuff that no one else knows. Oh, and one more thing: Just because a writer has done exhaustive research, it doesn’t mean that every little tidbit should be used in a novel because sometimes, a writer can get carried away, moving into such minutely detailed territory that it is no longer interesting to the reader. I’m looking at you, Scotland!