There are so many subjects to peruse as a writer that anyone taking a peek at my search history or my lil library might be confused.
I don’t use the word ‘research’ though, because that word indicates a systematic investigation conducted to answer a question. Me looking up stuff lacks a systematic approach. I resolve never to adhere to a theoretical understanding through which I can interpret answers to hypotheses I don’t develop. I’m not writing a thesis, if anything, it’s antithesis. Me looking stuff up means I allow myself to be led by random factoids via side quests that might inform new works. Eventually the results of my method without a methodology may end up in the writing. Somehow. Maybe.
Anywho, all of that aside, these are some of the things I’ve chased down facts or references for recently:
- southern Australian wetland birdlife and flora
- pre-Socratic philosophers
- French authors
- WWI and WII history
- paint colours
These probably indicate why I’ve never written a novel. Why settle on one thing for ages, when I can write stories and poems about ALL. THE. THINGS?
I say all the things, but writers have certain themes they explore no matter the details. Love, grief, change, aging, existential dread, history. It doesn’t matter if its limericks or fan fiction, the writing will have a theme. The theme is what writers are drawn to explore (sometimes without even realising) through the format (poem, novel, short story, play). Sometimes the format is the deliberate choice. Can anyone imagine Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel as a series of haiku?
So now for some bad Tudor inspo modern Haiku:
King weds in spring
A son set to inherit
Never arises in the fall
Like Mantel, I too have written historical fiction, exploring the passage of time as a theme, but unlike the celebrated British author, it was flash fiction. I didn’t need 200,000 words when 200 could do. Therefore, sometimes format is not about the subject matter or theme so much as the scope and detail. My 200 word work did not have a cast of approximately 1000 Thomases for instance. It was accepted for publication, so I’m hoping it will be out soon.
Anyway, I should get back to editing and rewriting something exploring a particular theme featuring such and such in the format of a short story.
- Acceptances: 10
- Rejections: 63
- Pending: 33