The Awesome Side of Research
Research sounds pretty boring, right? It may conjure up an image of someone with their nose to the books, or computer screen, slight frown creasing their forehead as they try to make sense of the bombardment of information they are suppose to screen, dissect, reword, rephrase, verify, and somehow mould into their own manuscript in a much more interesting way.
As part of my research, I started by booking tickets to see Wolfe Bowart’s performance of Letters End which was pure magic. I then went to see Loritz Circus, a small travelling circus that sets up its own marquee and travels in an entourage of trucks. This gave me a good idea of what life on the road would have been like for the Broadways. They have a number of acts which includes Kenyan acrobats and the ten year old hula hoop sensation Americus, who appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show with her amazing act. I also went to see the Adrenaline Circus which was a much grander scale at QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) and I sat there in a pool of perspiration as I watched the acts in complete amazement and awe.
A Trapeze Lesson
So, how did I end up booking a trapeze lesson? Well, there is an awesome side to research. As you may know, I’m writing my first novel and even though I have some knowledge of the entertainment industry, I don’t know what it’s like to tour around the countryside in a small truck. I don’t know what it’s like to practise juggling tea cups and plates for hours on end whilst balancing on a ball. As for circus life – I have no idea what circus life is like.
For me, each writing project is an exciting challenge because I soon realise how little I actually know about the world. It’s similar to being an actor. In order for your performance to be believable you need to research the character’s life and background. So, when it comes to creative writing, I believe you really do have to get your hands dirty, if you are going to write convincingly, because let’s face it, we’re creating characters who are experiencing things that we haven’t necessarily experienced ourselves.
Well, of course all that inspired me to take the next step… I booked a trapeze lesson with Trix Circus! Then it suddenly occurred to me that I’m no spring chicken anymore and what the hell did I think I was doing? Ok, the truth was I chickened out and convinced my son to do it instead. Yes, I know, I’m very sneaky! So, I filmed my son, Christian who graciously flew through the air with the greatest of ease. I, on the other hand, would have been screaming and flapping my hands like a mad chicken, and I do, after all, like to keep a professional appearance.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the importance of referencing all research. I record all internet links, and make sure I properly cite information. If I’m quoting directly from a resource, I make sure I state this information. I also make sure I keep thorough notes so I can track back where I got the information and make sure the source is reliable.
You will be pleased to know that after researching about contortionists; I did attempt a couple of the stretches and can now accurately write about the pain of overstretching and what a pulled muscle feels like. You’ll also be pleased to know that I’ve booked in for a hula hoop lesson. I’ve made a note to bring the ice packs and Dencorub. I passed up on the fire twirling lesson as I know what happened to Michael Jackson! There’s a limit to how far I’ll take the research!
So, I included the trapeze lesson clip for you to enjoy. Let me know what you think and whether you approach research the same way. What did I hear you say? You don’t have time to research? Well, it just so happens that I’d be more than happy to do it for you. Explore my website to check out my services. Contact me and let’s have a chat!