March 14, 2010


Most writers are either plotters (use outlines) or pantsers. I'm actually somewhere in between. When I'm not sure I can sell a project, I take my time with it and just let the characters take me where they want to go. When I want to set a deadline for a writing project, I use outlines.

And that's what this post is about.

Usually, I don't have a specific location for my work-in-progress. As a result, outlines are harder to compose. I have no idea where the characters are supposed to go or what they're going to do next. It's up to me to come up with ideas for the plot.

For my current work-in-progress, I decided to try something new. I've been trying to integrate research into my fiction for a while now, and this is the first time that I'm really going to give it a short. My current manuscript is set in Tagaytay. I've been there before but that was nearly five years ago. I don't remember much anymore.

I've discovered that research actually makes coming up with an outline easier. While jumping from one website to another, I've discovered a lot of places. For example, there are a lot of tourist spots that can serve as romantic backdrops. I also learned that horseback riding is a popular activity for tourists in Tagaytay, and there are also cool ecotrails. These are things that my hero and heroine can do together while they're getting to know each other or--more accurately--falling in love. My research materials are giving me tons of ideas for scenes. I've become a big fan of research.

However, all this research scares me. Information on the Internet can be unreliable. Therefore, I have to verify information by checking out various sources. Also, including all that information into my manuscript is also a risk for me. What if I get something wrong like the name and feel of a place or the culture of the people?

When doubts like that start creeping up on me, I tell myself to breathe and that I'm working on the rough draft. The revision process will give me a chance to edit and correct everything later.

What about you? From your point of view, does research really help move the plot forward?

On a different note, I finished Manuscript #4 yesterday. I'll start editing some time soon. :)

20041 / 20041 words. 100% done!

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