Deep Dark Holes

by | Apr 7, 2023

Researching. Sometimes it needs to be done. 

I don’t know enough about raising alpacas and it is a central part of my story. I want to integrate the Sistine Chapel into the background of a watercolour and I need visual reference. I have written a police procedural screenplay and I need to get the inside track from a detective I know.

I remember writer Budge Wilson telling me that she would write a draft of a story first, and research later. The trick with this is you might paint yourself into a corner, resulting in the need to change the plot if the research does not sync with what you had written.

I prefer to do at least some preliminary research before launching a new project. Get the ground work done. The benefits are that I often get ideas for the story/art work that I can incorporate or bounce off on.

There is a balancing act here. Researching can be a deep dark hole that is hard to pull myself out of. Engrossing details – time periods, personal letters, exotic worlds, rituals, eccentric recipes – are so engaging, so mesmerizing that I don’t want to stop.

When to pull the plug on yourself and lift your head up to create? That is the question.

A man climbs the ladder out of the deep hole