Monday, December 3, 2018

I Wish I'd Taken the Time to Ask

Pamela Tracy here, and I'm helping my 13-year-old work on his World War II assignment.  Yup, he has a deadline.


He's doing a lot of what I have to do when I have a deadline.

I have to come up with a story idea.
He has to come up with a thesis.

My ideas always go somethng like this:  Boy meets girl.  Boy says, "Hmm, not bad."  Soon something interferes and boy says, "This is horrible."  Soon, boy is trying to figure out how to get back in girl's good graces but something even more horrible happens.  Finally, they work it out.

Huh?  Okay, doubters.  Think about it.  All romances pretty much follow this formula.

As I'm writing my story I also research.  Some of my favorite finds are
   1. when we started putting fabric into coffins (I'm not making this up)
   2. how to make a trough for gold panning
   3. how hard it is to half a part/wolf part/canine pet (never will be a pet)
You get my drift.

My son's thesis reads like this:  The Japanese decided they should bomb Pearl Harbour because of Truman ending trade agreements, because the Japanese were powerful and well-trained, and because America was not in the mood for war thanks to World War I.

As he started his research, some of his favorite finds were
   1.Wow, the Japanese takeover of parts of China were especially brutal (this did not make it into his thesis but took up most of our time)
   2. The Japanese used metal that we sold them to make planes and warships in which to attack us.
   3. All the film clips from this era are in black and white (whhhaaaaat).

He's also suffering from a typical author's flaw.  He wants to put all his research into his final product but that would be too much backstory.

As for me, I'm thinking about writing a WWII romance.

Of course, I must first finish the fifteen other ideas that are waving their hands.

So, do you have a favorite research story?

I do.

Years ago when I was researching what a high-end resort room would look like, I went to a resort and talked the front desk manager into letting me peek into a room.  I did more than peek, though.  I walked in and started drawing the room as the cleaning staff cleaned.  They kept giving me "looks."   It took me a while to figure out they were worried that I was there looking for undocumented workers.






12 comments:

  1. Hey, Pamela. What a great post. A WW2 assignment is tough stuff. Bravo for helping. I've been writing books for Love Inspired set in Alaska so I've had to research a place I've never visited and try to make it realistic for readers. I'm now doing research on owls since the Alaskan town I'm writing is known for having a large species of owls. Lots of fun. But also it's a lot of work. Blessings!

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    1. When hubby and I retire, we're going to live one summer in Alaska. I've also told him that someday we should take a cruise there :)

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    2. Belle, what are the best resources on Alaska that you've found so far? Any tips? It is so foreign to most of us!

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  2. I love research and history. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Me, too. Truth is, I'm enjoying this assignment more than my son :)

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  3. Research can lead us down a rabbit hole, can't it? Years ago, Mary Connealy and a couple of us were touring a museum. Our friend, Dawn Ford, asked the guy if we could go behind the scenes. He said, "sure!" (I don't think most people were all the interested in the 1800s wreckage of a steamboat.) We got to touch things and almost broke something! (The guy didn't see, so it doesn't count.) He showed us *actual* butter that had been preserved by silt. (100 year old butter, anyone?!) They kept it in a freezer. Anyway - totally cool research trip :)

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  4. Hah, I just researched how long meat can be kept in the freezer! Now, I'll have to research butter (which I've never put in the freezer. It never lasts that long.)

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    1. (You can freeze butter. I buy it on sale :) Although, I always use it before the 100 year mark!

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  5. Some years ago, I researched how to make meth for a book I was writing and then worried that the cops might come to my door and question me about my cyber search. Actually, I found out all the details...and it's relatively easy to make. Google tells all!

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    1. How funny. I've researched how to make Meth too!

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  6. I've researched terrorist activity and how to make bombs for some books. I always feel a little uneasy about what watch list I'm ending up on.

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  7. LOL, Mary, I actually called a funeral parlor when I was researching caskets. The woman who answered never warmed up to me

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