When that little seed germinates and a story starts to grow, it needs all the proper ingredients. Where do you research and how much research do you really need to do? In a novel or short story everything has to gel, and the more meticulous one is with the details the better the story will be. Those details can make or break an author. My novel, The Patròn’s Wife, is basically a love triangle set partly in the Ecuadorian highlands and the Amazon jungle.
It’s amazing the treasure trove of information that sits in that area between the conscious and the subconscious mind. It wasn’t until I started writing the novel that I realized how influenced I was by a book called Keep the River on Your Right and a film titled ‘The Emerald Forest’. Both dealt with tribes in Amazonia. Even though I read the book and saw the movie years ago, scenes and snippets came to the fore to put me in the proper mindset.
Another source was the great number of videos and TV documentaries on the Waorani’s life style, Ecuador and the Amazon jungle. And last but not least, I used the internet and actual books. So, you have all this information, all of which is quite useful, but how much do you really use? You might use some of those details to give a scene a real presence. In describing the Enfield rifle that Hector gave to Emilio to clean up and use to hunt the jaguar, I looked it up to see the exact configuration of the wooden stock, how many bullets the magazine held, the caliber, even how much it weighed. I didn’t use all of the information about the rifle, but just enough to satisfy any gun enthusiast. I also did specific research on the type of HAM radio Hector used. I needed something vintage so I selected a Collins 75A-4, a very popular model from his grandfather’s era.
For me, the research is fun. I always experience a sense of wonder with the information I glean from all of those sources. It’s reassuring that a person can always learn something new.
Mark Giglio is a writer, artist and award-winning furniture maker with a degree in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. He lives in Escondido, CA in San Diego County. He has written novels in Historical Romance (Alchemist Gift), and a Supernatural Romantic Thriller (The Patròn’s Wife). The second volume of Alchemist Gift, Curious Journey, with the main character of Count Emilio, is in the works. His short stories are in the Horror and Science Fiction genres. See more of his work at http://www.alchemistgift.com.
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