Verisimilitude – Noun. Definition: The appearance or semblance or truth; likelihood; probability. A word writer often throws around when we want to sound smart or writerly.
As writers our imagination takes us to many places, ideas flood our heads like a tsunami. Some are good, some are so-so and some are downright MEH!
The Scale premise came pretty easy to me. It was personal and hit way too close to home. I lived it and I know many women who have as well. As I outlined Need You Now (Book 2 of the Martha’s Way Series) I wanted to get away from Minka and Jason and write about a different kind of heroine and hero with their own struggles and strengths. I tossed around many plots, but one kept sticking. Only, I knew nothing about drugs, addiction, child abuse, and murder.
So I did what every writer who wants to write a story that feels real with something unfamiliar to me. I researched.
Thank goodness for Google, my mother who is a nurse, my mother in law, a retired psychiatric nurse, my lawyer cousin, and my family members who carry a badge. I asked questions and they answered, from gunshot wounds, treating addicts, and the law. They all helped me understand all the little details I needed to capture for my story to be believable and accurate. I took notes. A notebook full.
I admit at one point after reading so much on Google and going through images of drug paraphernalia, addicts, gunshot wounds, dead bodies, I walked away and hurled. It became too much, too consuming. So much so that I contemplated about changing the premise of the book. But my mind had already gone there. I was committed.
So I wrote a novel about things that are foreign to me. In turn I became acquainted with circumstances and a lifestyle that were once unknown. The pain, tragedy, despair, and hopelessness that come with the life we are sometime thrust into or the path we choose to travel. The ramification from the choices we make and the downright spiral.
Fear not, Need You Now is still a love story. Just like The Scale there’s lots of passion, love and the eventual HEA. But it’s Lily and Adam’s journey. It’s dark and intense, just like Adam and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As writers, just because we are writing a fiction, do we have the right to make up whatever we want? The answer is absolutely yes. It’s our imagination. We create a fictional world to entertain, to engage. I just choose to write realistic fiction and oh boy that requires a lot of research.
Research is a word that fills many creative writers with dread. But I don’t want people reading my story to roll their eyes and say “that would never happen,” therefore, I did my due diligence.
There are plenty of ways to research your novel including the following:
- Using the internet (obviously the quickest and most painless way)
- Visiting the library (ah, check you out…the old school approach)
- Traveling to locations where your story will take place (a bold move. Hell make a vacation out of it.)
- Interviewing people who know about the things you are writing about (As I was writing a particular scene, I texted my cousin with some legal questions. He responded: Now I know you’ve gone nuts.)