Friday, May 7, 2021

Dragonflies and Trees ~ Story Research by @jsubject & an #excerpt from MADE FOR HER #SFR #SFRomance #Romance


How my Story Research Method has changed

by Jessica E. Subject

When I first started writing for publication, my research consisted of looking up everything I could possibly need to every topic I referenced in my stories. I printed out pages and pages of material, emailed and interviewed sources with multiple questions, and kept all this material in binder upon binder, so I had it all to reference.

Recently, when I was rearranging my office, I realized I hadn't used most of the material I'd saved over the years. So, I went through it all, and ended up recycling most of it.

My research methods have changed since then. As an author, I know very little of what I actually research will make it into the story. So, unless I'm interviewing someone, I only write down the information I need as notes in the book I'm using to write my story. Yes, as I currently research information on dragonflies, and wetland vegetation, I write all kinds of notes across the top and in the margins of various pages. I also jot down information in my series notebooks if it might pertain to other stories in the series. And if there's a website or video I want to reference again, I'll bookmark it. No more binders full of information I'll never use again.

I'm curious, as an author, do you find your research methods have changed as you've written more books?

As a reader, would you like to know tidbits of information the author learned while researching for their story that didn't make it into the book?

Here's an excerpt from MADE FOR HER, which was a very research-heavy story...

Colonel Jones grabbed the remote before focusing on the three-dimensional holographic picture beside her. Another presentation for the general public, but she doubted it would work to recruit anyone. The audience was always more curious than willing to enlist. 

“In 2084, as you know, Earth made first contact with the Rafkels, a peaceful species living on the planet Raf, located twenty light-years from Earth.” She pressed the button to show her spectators an image of the still-foreign planet. “While meeting this species remains years away, their message warned us of other intelligent life forms in our own galaxy.” 

Mikayla rolled her eyes. The actual message had not been a warning, rather a fact, but the government insisted on changing the wording to garner more recruits and support for cloning. “Since then, world governments have combined efforts to develop a spacecraft that will take us faster and farther into space. 

“If you join the military today, you will learn how to fly these vessels and train the clones for future wars. Science fiction has now become our reality.” Yeah, like that would work to recruit people. Who wrote the speech, anyway? Very few, if any, would ever make it to the SFTC, Space Flight Training Center. “It will never be your life on the line, but that of men and women created only for that purpose. Serving your country is no longer about sacrifice, but about honor.” 

She cringed at the bullshit words. People still died all the time. Terrorists, like the ones who’d killed Daniel, still objected to cloning, causing destruction and death. Just last month, a popular off-base nightclub, known to be a military hang-out, had been turned to rubble in a matter of seconds after a suicide bomber with known allegiance to the Al-Tidoa group blew himself up inside the building. Many, both clone and human-born, had died. 

When Mikayla switched the display to the live feed from Onatria’s main lab in Geneva, she sighed at the collective gasp. Robotic arms transferred material between Petri dishes at various stations while other, more complex equipment dissected strands of DNA. Human-born and clones alike wore white lab coats and watched new life grow under their microscopes. And in a glass-walled clean room, casket-like clear chambers held young clones attached to a multitude of tubes. Except for the military and Onatria staff, this was the first time anyone had seen the labs. The government had grown desperate for people to enlist. 


By Jessica E. Subject

After terrorists murder the love of her life, Colonel Mikayla Jones trains squadron after squadron of the clones he brought to life, to take to the skies. When she discovers a young clone of her husband in her newest class, her world spins out of control. How can she command the look-a-like when she can’t help but yearn for him to fill an ache in her heart?

Dare was created to be the best. As the first Daniel clone to leave Onatria labs, he needs to prove he is more than just a DNA copy. To do that, he must rely on the wife of the man who donated his genes. But when she refuses to train him, Dare faces discharge and returning to the labs. Can he convince Colonel Jones to finish his training and find a way into her bed? Or will long kept secrets unhinge the entire clone project?



Nancy Gideon said...

When I started out in my writing career some 30 years ago, research was done in the public library reference room and notes were made by hand! I've come a long way since then. Our references are now virtually unlimited through online searches, and reaching out to professionals in a particular field is one click away. Attending seminars or classes through various writer resources has just about anything at your fingertips. But that doesn't make the search for one nugget of fact any less exciting.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Hi Nancy! Yes, technology has certainly helped to change the way we do research. And I totally agree. Searching for these snippets of information, and everything we learn in the process is very exciting!

Maureen said...

I used to have my office lined with bulletin boards and clippings and pictures etc. Otherwise- a lot of stuff- and a ton of clutter, and not always all that useful. I still print out a few things for inspiration, but much more is digital. Plus my office is much neater, which is a plus since clutter really impedes my productivity.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Hi Maureen! Yes, I agree that clutter can affect productivity. I'm thankful so much has become digital to reduce that!

Mary Morgan said...

I'm a research geek, Jessica. I discuss this in my upcoming post on Sunday, too. Yet I have changed how I go about collecting items. My methods are vastly different. Definitely less paper. My current research obsession is Youtube videos--love them!

Mary Morgan said...

Great post, too! :)

Diane Burton said...

Like you, Jess, my research used to fill binders because I printed out EVERYTHING. lol Now I make notes in a Word doc and include the URL. I save everything digitally. Still fall into the Black Hole of Research, following side references. I learn so much--stuff that's so interesting but will never be used.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Oh, yes, I have been watching videos about dragonflies on YouTube for research as well. Great resource!

Jessica E. Subject said...

Thank you, Mary!

Jessica E. Subject said...

That's a great way to keep that information, Diane! I try not to get lost, but sometimes I can't help myself.

Lea Kirk said...

I'm like Diane. Have documents with links in case I ever need the info again. My biggest challenge has always been not getting sucked down the research rabbit hole. There is SO MUCH fascinating info out there!