I remember the first time I heard about Outlander, which was just a few years ago. I must have been the only person on the planet who hadn’t heard of Diana Gabaldon. My critique partner was so excited about this book she’d read. I trust her judgment so I picked up the book. Usually, I don’t care to read about the time period Outlander begins with, but I kept reading, and when I’d finished the entire book, I was hooked.
If you’re a writer I’m sure you’ve been asked “How do you come up with your ideas?” I’m asked this every time I talk about writing with someone who doesn’t write. They’re amazed that all these plots are swirling around in a writer’s brain. I can’t imagine not having a plot in my head. Even before I knew I wanted to write—like decades before I knew I wanted to write—I still had plots in my head. As a kid, I thought in scenes. Whatever was going on around me was a springboard for a daydreaming session. Too bad I didn’t connect the dots earlier and realize I needed to tell stories.
Research. I hate it. Except when I love it. For the most part, research frustrates me. I’m never sure I’m getting accurate information, and that’s even if I’m lucky enough to find what I’m looking for. More often than not, I end up sidetracked onto something mildly interesting. An hour, or hours, later I realize I should be writing, so I jump back into the manuscript and find a gaping hole. Oh yeah, that research I was going to do. Whoops. And back I go again.