Distractions plague every writer. I’ve heard authors bemoan the frustration of an unintentional interruption that threw their story-thoughts into chaos. When I attended the Estes Park writers’ conference this past May, I learned an excellent solution to resolve this problem. Here are a few tips to keep our imaginations focused INSIDE the story.


Research immersion:

  • Are you writing a memoir? THIS IS AN ADVENTURE that you’ll never regret! Whether looking through a box full of old photographs or reading an ancestor’s diary, researching the lives of family members who have walked this earth before us IS FUN and FACINATING. You become the investigative reporter of the people, places and events that occurred years before your birth, so when you see a photo of Great Uncle George dressed as if meeting royalty, research into his clothing (top-hat to spats) will fill in many of the details that imagination alone cannot. Follow the clues!
  • Have you become so intrigued by time period in that memoir that your imagination is flying with conjecture and answers to your “What if?” questions? There is a NOVEL brewing within.
  • Now the research will go deeper. START a new file and throw in all the data you can find about the lifestyle of each stratum of economics in that time period and place. Clip images—artist pieces and/or historical photos—and begin a visual imaginings
  • Look to other authors who have written about this period of history—and READ their books—whether they are fiction authors or historians.
  • Build your story as if you are living the life of your main character.
  • Wear his/her cloths (figuratively speaking—or literally, if you can find them in a costume shop).
  • Work IN their daily life career path.

From my high school and college days until I became serious about writing, even hearing the word “research” would send me in the opposite direction. However, being an only child, I loved to read and journey beyond my back yard to places I’d could only imagine.  My favorite novels were historical fiction and science fiction. Both are steeped in research in order to provide the authenticity and the feeling of living in that time and place. Now, what I’d learned and appreciated in my youth became a vital part of my writing life.

So, DON’T FEAR THE “R” WORD. Embrace it! Research is a friend that will support your imagination and let it fly! It will build a solid foundation for any genre of writing you choose. Plus, research in extremely valuable in choosing the publishing process for your work—whether you attempt of find a mainstream publisher or make the decision to self-publish. ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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