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From Concept to Shelves: Research Part 2 - The Plot's Still Bare... But There.

I realize that in the last post this was actually the third in my list but the reason I need to start here next is because it controls what the characters need to react to--and in a very major way it also controls where the book takes place... which then leads back to #2.

It seems odd and out of place but in reality it's not.

I can't give away too much of Cold other than that it will eventually be a criminal procedural thriller that is also erotica.  This is where I can see a few eyebrows raising.  There is a reason why my pen name, Meredith Hayes, and my real name will never meet in the middle.  First, anything written as Kristan Cannon is usually PG to just under an R, if it were to have a movie rating.  Also, I tend to write post-apocalyptic and near post-apocalyptic fiction.

My pen name strays into erotica, and that's a heads up.  An author will often--but not always--use pen names to separate genres.  Usually we also don't make a huge secret of the fact.

But I digress.

Plot is nothing more that answering one of the big W's in writing:  WHY.

Why are you reading this novel?
Why are the characters where they are?
Why are doing what they're doing?  (Not necessarily referring to the sex either--anything.)

In other words; what's the big flippin' deal that makes the novel in the first place?

At this point I'm more worried about the main, and most apparent, plot and whether it's at least plausible.  To do that means I need to research it.

Considering the subject that means time spent not only in a regular library but a legal one.  It's a good thing I tend to write from the Canadian perspective since I also live in Canada... this means Canadian legal libraries are at least moderately easy to find and access after producing identification and a reason for being there.  Unlike normal libraries they aren't exactly open to the general public.  You can access them online, of course, but I'm a bit old fashioned in that I like actually reading a physical book and the surroundings also helps in the same research.

After all, if one of my main characters is a lawyer where else would you find him (or her) on any given day?  It gives me a feel for their profession.

It also allows me a viable network in which to draw advice and bounce ideas off of.  Not to mention if I need to ask someone 'in the field' whether what I have in mind would actually happen or if it could get them thrown out on their arse it's really quick and easy to just ask one of the numerous lawyers, police officers, and others who spend their working lives there.

That's only one example of how this could be done.  It might work for a criminal thriller or procedural but what about if you want to write in science fiction (not science fantasy) or in another genre?

The same can be applied it's the venue that changes.  Strangely enough the same process that worked when researching characters is now applied to researching things and circumstances themselves, whether the broader details would even be possible given the time period, locale and people involved.

As I said, I can't give too much away about Cold before it's even written but for those broad items I have to find out:

1) If the primary character's history is plausible and if the circumstances she found herself in would happen... at least if they would happen the way I have in mind.  If not things need to be changed.
2) If the other primary character would actually find himself in the same--without getting himself fired.  Again, if not, things to be tweaked and changed.
3) What other little things make it realistic, but not mind numbingly boring.

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