Above my desk, I have a sign that says (in dark, frightening capitals): WRITE - DON’T RESEARCH.
Many people believe that knowledge is free. Take it from me - they’re lying.
Years ago, researching stuff for my stories was easy. It meant jumping in the car and driving to the local library. I’d set off with a long list of questions and return home with a long list of answers. Easy and inexpensive.
These days, when anything I need to know is only a couple of mouse clicks away, it costs me a small fortune.
This isn’t to say I have anything against research. I know it’s a necessary tool for a writer. We all have to get our facts straight, right? Write about what you know, they say. Well, yes, I wish I could, but it’s not every night that a murderer drops in for dinner.
Like it or not, every writer has to do some research. And for me, it’s frighteningly expensive.
Take yesterday, for example. I was working on an outline for a future Dylan Scott mystery. The story involves a brief (very brief) mention of a rented beach cottage in France so, of course, I needed to check it out, didn’t I? Two hours later, I’m telling my husband that I’ve found the perfect place for our next holiday.
For a book with my other publisher, I needed to find out all I could about expensive, handmade chocolates. My bank account - and waistline - is still recovering from that particular piece of research.
Another idea I have involves a wine connoisseur and that’s a truly terrifying thought…
What about you? How do you cope with research? Are you good - or does your credit card take a hammering?