I’ve been doing the edits for my Viking novella the past few weeks. It’s been an interesting experience–I’m attempting to add in the draugar (you know, the Norse zombies? Remember how we’re all so very screwed?), as it was not there in the first pass, and that has been a little more difficult than anticipated. And not just because I hate zombies.
I’m also attempting to tweak the backstories of some of the characters so the bad guy has more motivation, and the good guy has more of a sense of betrayal. And, of course, I’m also doing the regular variety of edits, like spelling, grammar, historical accuracy–oh man, you guys, don’t get distracted by the research. That takes you down a dark little rabbit hole.
I mean, yes, research. But designate a time for it. Don’t try to research and edit at the same time. It doesn’t work.
Hmmm, they need to be gathering some variety of vegetation. Let’s go with juniper. Does juniper grow in Norway? In the Viking age? Where? When was it harvested? Why do none of these websites have any relevant information? Is this what madness feels like?
That being said, everyone has his or her own method of researching. I’m the doofus that does a day or two of initial research and then makes it difficult and does the research-as-I-go thing, which is effective for me.
I also like to write the story out, researched or not, just to get it out–a skeleton draft. I suppose you could say it serves as an outline, in a nontraditional sense.
You may want to have all your research done upfront, and your plot outlined. That’s the nice thing about the creative process: there’s not really a right or wrong way. I’ve heard the literati are lumped into “pantsers” and “planners.” I, personally, am a wild card, stealing methods from both camps.
Because, you know. IDOWHATIWANT!
And then go back through the archives and read all the “25things” articles, because, wow. The profane has never been so profound.