Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SSLT Research

Most of my fiction has been contemporary, so you'd think research might be minimal, but I inisist on writing about topics I don't know much about. For instance, in my novel, The Fence My Father Built, I needed to understand more about archaeology in Central Oregon, about Native Americans and about life in general on the high desert. I drew upon news articles, internet postings and some terrific books to help me. The problem with research is that it can get in the way of your actual writing time. It's possible (even without FaceBook or Twitter) to waste hours trolling websites to glean tidbits of info for your writing project. Those are hours you can't get back--hours which might have been better spent writing with your BIC.
Writing Tip for Today: One way to balance the need for correct facts and the need to actually write, (with many thanks to my pal and mentor John Reed) is known as the SSLT Method. You're writing along and suddenly you don't really know the name of the closest town to the place where your story takes place. So, instead of stopping the writing (where you'd finally hit The Zone), you substitute SSLT (in big bold letters) for whatever info is needed. Later (much later) you'll of course replace the acronym with the real info. What does SSLT stand for? Some S*** Like That. Insert the word "Stuff" if you can't abide profanity. Learning to use SSLT as a bookmark will help you keep your research in balance with actual writing time. Burn up those keys, people!

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Linda. When I come to one of those spots I usually write a note to myself in brackets, like, [FIX THIS LATER]. But your way is much faster... and it makes me smile :+}

    ReplyDelete