Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Research and Imagination

Besides putting the final edits to my novel, I have been writing a short story about a sixteen year old homeless girl and her younger brother surviving in current culture. Amidst all the troubles of these kids living in homeless camps, there are moments of peace and joy. I think I have a good story in the making.

Since I have never been homeless, I have engaged in some local introspection, if you will, of how I might add flavor to my story.

For example, in a neighborhood where I park for work, a box of books has been left on the sidewalk. Everyday I have seen fewer books in the box, as if people have been helping themselves to their favorite read. What if my characters were to come across this free mini-library and find books that can take them to worlds away from the hardships and possible horrors awaiting them on the street?

Another example is a walk I took during my lunch break at work the other day. In the city where I live, there are long paved trails, double decker at some locations, running alongside a flowing creek protected by lush canopies of trees and brush. As I enjoyed the scenery, I began to wonder about the many places that a homeless girl and her brother could camp unseen.

My point is that research is all around you. You don't have to stick to the old adage write what you know, you just need to turn your imagination on and research enough to fill in the details. Most of all, remember to write honestly and from your heart.

Happy writing all.


4 comments:

Jai Joshi said...

It's true that with good research and deep thinking, we can write about things not necessarily in our experience.

I'm glad things are going well for you, Susan!

Jai

Susan Littlefield said...

I agree, Jai. I hope things are going well for you too!

Lilith said...

I know this is old news now but I was thinking as I read it if you wanted to research homelessness around Santa Rosa you could go to the Living Room and talk to women there.

Lilith

Susan Littlefield said...

Lillith, that's a great idea! Thank you.

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