Today I am researching again, this time to add richness (and hopefully more content) to my novel. I’m looking at one aspect of the story and researching that to build background knowledge and depth. The focus of my research is the grey wolf. I want to bring detail about the wolf into my writing in some way.
A few interesting points I found out about the grey wolf:
• A pack might surround their still prey for hours without attacking, but once it runs, they will chase and attack.
• They have webbed toes.
• Their saliva helps grow new tissue and reduce the chance of infection.
• They have 42 teeth (humans have 32).
Here’s a writing task for you:
Take whatever writing you are working on at present (or any piece of your writing for that matter). Find some seemingly insignificant aspect of your piece to research. For example, you might have a character who wears her/his favourite scarf – you could research how scarves are made: what animal does the fabric fibre come from, what is the farming process, how are the fibres made into thread, how is this made into a scarf, what country does this all happen in, where was it sold, what was the transportation processes at work, etc. Or perhaps a character’s drink of choice is whiskey: research the process of whiskey distillation. You get the idea.
Then, incorporate this into your writing in some way…perhaps this adds texture to your writing (your character ponders the time and care taken to produce such things, etc.) or perhaps there is a more immediate connection between your research and your written piece just waiting for you to tap into.
I wrote a quick first peron narrative from a wolf’s perspective:
When Birch and I run, my ears get pinned back to my head, I run so fast. But even so, I can’t keep up with him.
He waits for me at the end of the pasture, spittle dripping from his chops as he catches his breath. His head bobs up and down and he chortles at my efforts to beat him.
“Maybe next time, babe,” he barks, nonchalantly.
“Yeah, well…” I call to his bushy tail already disappearing into the forest, “Let’s make it an all-day race and see who wins. Yeah, snap!”
Even though he’s gone, I know he can hear me. I get no response, but I imagine him snickering, silently.
Myrtle flicks her tail in my direction as she lopes past me and into the forest after Birch.
“Nice try, loser,” she snarls, swinging her rump with one intention. She doesn’t even look me in the eye.
Not on my watch. My tail bushes out almost instinctively. My paws spread and dig into the earth, my muscles tense, my body balances.
In one great spring, I am past Myrtle and soon padding softly beside Birch. I nuzzle my nose into his thick furred shoulder.
Now, how can I apply this to my novel?