Thursday, 12 September 2013

Busy Bee by Ann Evans

Me about to meet some real busy bees!
I like to have a number of different writing projects on the go. It probably isn’t the most efficient and productive way of working. Perhaps if I concentrated on one thing at a time, I’d get things finished and sent off a lot quicker, rather than having half finished books and articles hanging around for ages.

But that’s me, and when there’s a deadline looming, I knuckle down to the job in hand. I suppose the reason I like having a collection of different things on the go, is because there’s always something different. Writing doesn’t get tedious, and things are at different stages.

What I probably enjoy the most, is doing the research, especially if it gets me out and about. And to be honest it's a lot easier than actually sitting down to actually write.
The photo on the right is me being a real busy bee, about to go get up close and personal to a few thousand bees. The picture below is me taking notes about a new Charlie Chaplin museum in Switzerland. 

Another interview

It's mainly when I'm working on an article that I go off and research some topic or other, and now and again I've found that the information gathered on what is usually someone else's hobby or passion, can come in very useful in my fictional writing too.

A couple of weeks ago, my romance book Champagne Harvest came out in paperback large print, published by F A Thorp (Publishing) of Leicestershire. (Originally published by People's Friend). It's set where else but the Champagne Region of France.

The idea for the book first took hold when I was lucky enough to go on a press trip to Champagne to write about bubbly for the newspaper I was working on. I know, it's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

My hero in the book is champagne tycoon (and famous painter) Philippe Beaulieu. My heroine is a feature writer on a local newspaper. Okay a bit type cast but as you all probably know, being a writer opens doors and I wanted my heroine, Laura Kane to investigate Monsieur Beaulieu, believing him to be up to no good.

I found it really helpful to read back through the copious notes made on the press trip, and then weave some of the factual stuff into my story. The quotes from the growers and champagne aficionados certainly made my characters sound more believable when I slipped a few authentic words and sentences in here and there. 

Learning about champers!
Thinking up new story ideas is a real struggle at times and for me the spark of an idea is nearly always centred around something in real life, so looking at the factual info gathered for different non-fiction articles comes in so useful at times.

Just a week ago I went off to interview an engineer who rebuilds and repairs large scale model steam trains – the sort you and the kids might sit on to ride around a park. It's for a mechanical engineering magazine. And amongst the research I discovered a wonderful eccentric character from the 1920s who will be just perfect to resurrect and remould in a romance. In fact the prospect of writing the fictional story that's currently brewing in my head is a lot more exciting that writing all that stuff about castings and boilers!

So I suppose that's the thing with research. You start off on one subject and you just never know what other ideas and opportunities it will spark. What do you think?

Please feel free to look at my website:
Become a Writer - A Step by Step Guide, out now.


Karen said...

Interesting article, Ann. Love the beekeeper get up! I like to work on a few different projects too, it's good to dip in and out of them, stops writer's block I think. :)

Ann Evans said...

Thanks Karen, I love that bee keepers photo too. I look so silly. More like I'm about to walk on the moon!