Sad fact: I’ve always struggled to plan stories. From the time that I was writing short stories about my pets as a kid, I’ve struggled to plan ahead; if I have an awesome story idea, I want to go ahead and start writing, regardless of whether the story has any structure, or not.
Most of the stories that I’ve written go absolutely nowhere; I’ve had to quit writing them because any potential reader wouldn’t know what was going on, nor did I at those points! 😂
It was alright when I was a kid, but with all of my experience as a writer now … it’s probably a good time to start figuring out the best way for me to plan stories.
For a while now (at least a year, or so), I’ve been planning – a lot. I’ve been researching and studying and reading and writing – okay, those are all basically the same thing. lol Either way, I have been working because I want to write a historical fiction novel based in the Middle Ages – and I can’t do that without a whole lot of research.
In part one of this series, I’m going to share with you four things that I’ve learned on this journey of story research. I hope that it can encourage you if you’re planning a novel, or if you’re interested in ever doing it. 😊
1. Keep all the facts in one place. I’ve been tempted to digitize everything or to upgrade to a pretty binder, but it has been so nice to have everything in just one notebook! Nothing gets lost, I didn’t have to spend extra money on something prettier … 👍🏼
2. Write out a table of contents. I’m currently working on one so that when I’m writing the story one day, I’ll be able to find different topics that I’ve written about. Even though I’ve written everything down, I won’t be able to remember all of it, which is why it’s so important for me to have a table of contents. For now, they’re just a note on my phone, as it isn’t quite done …
3. Find your favorite type of resource, then work with it. For me personally, I like finding the information I need through library books. I also have a folder on my phone that has links to articles on topics that I want/need to learn about, things I might not find in books. Other people might enjoy videos or online research more; it’s just a thing of preference.
4. Unless you’re on a timed schedule, only work when you feel motivated. This project is just for me, and I’m not doing it for any writing challenge, so I don’t have a deadline or a goal to reach. I research when I feel inspired and only then; it takes a lot of work! If I tried to push it and study every week, I wouldn’t enjoy it half as much.
For example, I’m really focusing on learning about medieval gardening for the time being, and even though I like what I’m finding out about it, I’ve had to go through a lot of dry books and boring online articles to find what I’m really looking for. It’s crazy how deep I have to study just to find the facts!
What’s YOUR best studying tip?
Thanks for reading! Have a great evening/night. 💕