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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reading as Research

Last summer, I had an idea for a fairy story. Actually, my working title is older than that, but I wrote the first chapter last summer. In my ::ahem:: spare time over the past year, I've done a bit of plotting and a short outline. It's a fun, MG story about an nontraditional fairy.

"But," you say, "there a a million fairy stories out there."

I know. In fact, I've been asked to review an ARC of one coming out in the fall (more to come on that. I CAN'T wait, this is from an awesome blogger and friend). Is there room for mine? I think so. I think as long as there is a new twist, there is always room for more of anything.

So I've made a list of twenty fairy stories (from PB to YA) and I'm going to be reading some this summer. I just started ARTEMIS FOWL on my iPod, so I can "read" in the car. I want to find out what kind of worlds my writing colleagues have created--not to copy, but to inform my writing. I want to make sure I'm putting my gothish, combat boot-wearing fairy into a world of my own creation, not something that mimics or reminds people of another.

How do you research a new WIP?

12 comments:

Donna said...

I research the same way. Pick up some books and make sure my twist is the 'new thing'.

I like the sound of your fairy!

Laura Pauling said...

I think it's a must to read what is already out there - if anything to not spend a year writing something that has already been done. (but I'm pretty sure yours hasn't been. :))

Kristine Asselin said...

Thanks Donna and Laura! I'm getting kind of excited about the project...

Ansha Kotyk said...

I love reading as research. I mean how much fun is it to hunt down, find, and enjoy books on a subject you already adore? :)
Enjoy AF!

Carol Riggs said...

So smart of you to research your idea this way, and make sure your fairy story is unique! I do searches on Amazon and Google, and also ask my writer friends if they've read anything similar to my Shiny New Ideas. I have one in my mind that I THINK is unique.

Yours sounds kinda like urban fantasy! But maybe just straight-up fantasy. :)

Rachel Brooks said...

You're very smart for reading stories that are in the same genre as your WIP. That way you know what is already out there. Then you'll be able to put a new twist on a popular story idea. It doesn't matter how many other fairy stories are out there, so long as you make yours different and fresh (which I'm sure you will ;)

miclowery said...

I've actually been asked by agents I've queried to describe how my work differs from some of that already out there with similar subject matter. I did Google searches and the like when I first had the idea for my genie story Heir to the Lamp and read what titles I could find to make sure my story hadn't already been told. I love your idea and can't wait to see what becomes of it.

Kristine Asselin said...

Ansha, Carol, Rachel and Miclowery--thanks for stopping by! And, C, that's a great idea to google search the key words!

I think it's definitely smart to know what your competition is like--and fun as a reader to see all the great books out there. I want to make sure my story stands out--not blends in. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I usually watch a bunch of science fiction movies and TV shows on NetFlix. Yes, odd I know!

Creepy Query Girl said...

When I wrote 'FOSSEGRIM', I did some research into mermaid stories to make sure mine wasn't closely related. Being told from a boy's point of view definitetly made mine different though. I agree, as long as it has a twist, there's room.

Matthew MacNish said...

Reading books is one of the best ways to research. I don't know of any books that are much like mine, so it's tough to find fiction to read for research, but I've read plenty of non-fiction that is related to specific topics that are in my story.

Elana Johnson said...

I write whatever I want. That's how I research. If mine is the same as someone else's, then I'd like to think I can sell the story with the writing, the characters, and the stuff that only I can bring to a story.