Welcome to my stop on the Traitor’s Hope Blog Tour! I am excited to be posting a Guest Post + the Giveaway.
(Guest Post: How to Research Your Story Before Writing It)
Traitor’s Hope Info
Title: TRAITOR’S HOPE (Blade’s Edge #2)
Author: Virginia McClain
Pub. Date: October 14, 2017
Publisher: Artemis Dingo Productions
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Traitors lurk around every bend. Mishi’s mind is betraying her, and she fears her kisō and katana will betray her next. Taka’s heart abandons her for a person she cannot possibly trust. Now that the two friends are obliged to help re-establish peace in the land of Gensokai, the only question is where the next betrayal will come from and if Mishi and Taka will have the strength to survive it.
About the Author
Virginia thinks dangling from the tops of hundred foot cliffs is a good time. She also enjoys hauling a fifty pound backpack all over the Grand Canyon and sleeping under the stars. Sometimes she likes running for miles through the desert, mountains, or wooded flatlands, and she always loves getting lost in new places where she may or may not speak the language.
From surviving earthquakes in Japan, to putting out a small forest fire in Montana, Virginia has been collecting stories from a very young age. She works hard to make her fiction as adventurous as her life and her life as adventurous as her fiction. Both take a lot of imagination.
She recently moved to Winnipeg with her husband (a Manitoba native) and their dog.
How to Research Your Story Before Writing It
Oh, research… for some authors it’s the unwanted step-child of a Grimm fairy-tale, for others it’s the prized, pure-bred Pomeranian that they just can’t stop showing you pictures of. Either extreme can lead to bad writing, and it can be tough to find the right balance, but it’s generally always worth making the effort.
Pretty much all writing requires some level of research. Beware the author who says they did zero research. I mean, I write fantasy, I technically have license to just make up every aspect of my world without consulting anyone, but… I still do research. Even complete fictions are more compelling when based in fact.
The truth is, I enjoy doing research for my writing, even though I was someone who hated doing research for papers when I was a student. But writing novels isn’t like writing papers (no need to write a tedious bibliography and do proper citations), and I’m only researching things that I’m interested in. For example, for the Chronicles of Gensokai books: traditional samurai clothing and weapons, fighting techniques, and culture. Or, specifically for Traitor’s Hope: the symptoms, causes, and treatments for PTSD. I find those topics fascinating, and the trick becomes not including all of the fascinating facts I learned during my research in one giant rush of information sure to put all of my readers straight to sleep. This happens to a lot of authors, because we get excited about our newfound knowledge, and want to share it with the world. “SURELY EVERYONE ELSE WILL FIND THIS AS FASCINATING AS I DO!” we shout at our computer screens before madly retyping whole paragraphs from Wikipedia articles and textbooks that we have borrowed from the library.
This is why editors exist.
Seriously though, it takes a bit of restraint to keep from doing this, and it’s an easy trap to fall into. Have you ever read The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel? I loved that book, and wanted to love the series, but I struggled, repeatedly, to get through the three-page explanation of the atlatl that she included EVERY. TIME. IT. WAS. USED. Seriously! I know she must have learned a tremendous amount about pre-historic peoples and tools, and spent huge amounts of time acquiring said knowledge, and really, I found the description fascinating the first time that she included it… but after that I understood how it worked and why it was important and didn’t need to read a brief dissertation on the history of the atlatl and how it changed hunting for Neanderthals every time someone got one out to help bring down a bison.
Ahem. My point, dear readers, is that research, while important, needs to be streamlined when it hits the page. It is very important that you, as a writer, understand how the mechanics of what you are writing works. Whether you’re writing a police procedural or a romcom you should be doing some amount of research. Readers don’t like it when they find factual errors in your book, and you have to assume that someone somewhere is going to read your book who knows more about something than you do, so it pays to do your research. But, once you’ve done it, don’t hammer people with it. Sprinkle it lightly, gently, across your writing, so that it is clear that you haven’t pulled it all from nowhere. Try to do that without forcing anyone to read an instruction manual on how to reload a Glock 9mm every time your protagonist needs to shoot one.
For my part, I have stories that I research extensively before I start them: I am working on a sci-fi series that takes place thousands of years in earth’s future, and for a big part of the setting I needed to consult an evolutionary biologist. So, I called one up at the local university where I was living at the time and asked her if I could buy her a coffee in exchange for pelting her with random questions about the evolution of plants, animals, and genetic mutations. To my great delight she accepted, and I now have copious notes to use for my world building.
Then, there are stories that I only research on the fly as issues arise, like most of Traitor’s Hope. The information about feudal Japan is only looked up as needed, when I’ve forgotten something or I think a detail might be important. After all, Gensokai is only inspired by feudal Japan, it’s actually its own, fictional world, so I don’t rely too heavily on how things were historically. Meanwhile, the PTSD is something I take very seriously in terms of representing properly, so that research was done before I even started the book. However, I had to alter things to fit a world without psychologists or psychotherapists, without lab created medications, and with the added complication of magic. So, I had to balance out what my research told me with what made sense for my world, and all the while treat the condition and the people it affects with the respect they deserve. I have no idea if I succeeded or not, but I gave it my best.
Research. To summarize: research is an author’s best friend. Until it isn’t. Does that help?
1 winner will receive a signed paperback set of BLADE’S EDGE & TRAITOR’S HOPE, US Only.
3 winners will receive eBook sets of BLADE’S EDGE & TRAITOR’S HOPE, International.
10/9/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
10/9/2017- Blushing Bibliophile– Review
10/10/2017- Arvenig.it– Guest Post
10/10/2017- Bibliobakes– Review
10/11/2017- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews– Excerpt
10/11/2017- Ashley M. Delgado– Review
10/12/2017- A Dream Within A Dream– Excerpt
10/12/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Spotlight
10/13/2017- BookHounds YA– Guest Post
10/13/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland– Review
10/16/2017- Novel Novice– Excerpt
10/16/2017- Nick Bryan Dot Com– Review
10/17/2017- Books at Dawn– Guest Post
10/17/2017- YA and Wine– Excerpt
10/18/2017- Fire and Ice– Spotlight
10/18/2017- A Gingerly Review– Review
10/19/2017- My Nook, Books & More– Excerpt
10/19/2017- Jena Brown Writes– Review
10/20/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland– Interview
10/20/2017- Ramblings From An Alternate Reality– Review
Until next time,