research

Improving Your Story’s Setting with a Floor Plan

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in A Writer's Life, How to write, research | 0 comments

Improving Your Story’s Setting with a Floor Plan

Chances are, at some point in your story, your characters will spend some time in a building, and that means you need a map of that building, aka, a floor plan. Why Do I Need a Floor Plan? There are three main reasons why you should draw out your floor plans and not just keep them in your head: consistency, realism, and efficiency. 1. Consistency: don’t get lost in your own setting. Have you ever written something like this? “She woke up with the dawn’s light filling her bedroom” and then a few pages later: “From her bed she watched the sun set, then turned her...

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Improving Your Story’s Setting with Maps

Posted by on May 28, 2017 in A Writer's Life, research | 0 comments

Improving Your Story’s Setting with Maps

When it comes to bringing a sense of authenticity to your writing, it’s the little things that matter. Most writers keep meticulous notes on their characters. However, we’re not always so good about noting those little things that make for an interesting setting description. Keeping track of where your characters are physically through the use of maps is one easy way to improve your story’s setting. Not only do maps help you add in little snippets of realistic detail, they also help keep you from making stupid mistakes. When I read a book, I will often Google a map of the places...

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Mapmaking for The Slow Trail Home

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 in research, The Slow Trail Home | 0 comments

Mapmaking for The Slow Trail Home

I’ve been busy mapmaking. When I first decided to use the Pecos Trail (aka, the Goodnight-Loving Trail) for my book, I had no clue how few detailed maps there were of the route. After spending several years (including one very long road trip) piecing the route together, I’ve put that research into map form, so when the next book comes out in a couple weeks, my readers will have a visual to follow along with. While I’ve found myself somewhat hamstrung by the fact that my only tools are a scanner and MS Paint, I think I’m doing a decent job. Thank goodness for my Bamboo...

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Research Rant

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in A Writer's Life, Books, research | 3 comments

I pride myself on making my novels as factually accurate as possible (though sometimes I know the facts but end up switching them around a bit to better suit the story). Towards that end, I recently read Empire of Shadows, which covers the early exploration of Yellowstone (before it became a National Park). Not because I’m interested in Yellowstone, per se (though it is a fascinating place, and I’d love to go back there), but rather because a big chunk of the book dealt with the 2nd Cavalry and Fort Ellis, MT, in the 1870s. That’s why I was reading the book in the first...

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