Saturday, 7 September 2013

Researching is Fun

I have been doing some research today. In Edinburgh. I like research. I probably like it too much. Sometimes it can be hard to pull myself away from researching to start writing.

I spent the morning at Stewart's Melville College's rugby fields. I watched a couple of games, eavesdropped on the coaches, talked to a few parents. My next book is about a school rugby team. It features parent characters, so it was a very useful morning all round.

The action before the matches kicked off was as useful as the rugby, to be honest. Seeing parents arriving with their kids. Watching the boys fooling around before the games. Hearing the coaches coach. Watching the warm up drills. Smelling the bacon sandwiches and tea that the parents were tucking into, while they chatted to each other.

Detail. Authentic detail. Things you might not bother to mention while writing.

I attended my first air show in the afternoon. At RAF Leuchars. The reason for this is that some of the boys in my fictional rugby team have parents in the RAF. As a result I needed to see some planes flying. Particularly Typhoons, planes that are still operational in the RAF.

Research is useful because it tells you things beyond you imagination. Watching the Typhoons was just that. The way they manoeuvre in the sky. Their noise. How the air is carved white by their G-force. It was astonishing. And thrilling. My subject needs to thrill me if I am going to thrill my readers.

I also got to see a bit of the air base. The hangars. The RAF houses. The vehicles. How people dress.

It all helps. More authentic detail.

I am lucky that I get to write about things I am into. Going to watch rugby and fighter aircraft is hardly work, is it? I'd do it even if I wasn't writing about it.

I have lots of notes now. But, more than that, I have images and smells and sounds and snippets of conversation in my head. For when I start writing. Soon...


James A said...

Hi Tom,
Just wanted to say a big thank you for today's SPSR interview.
Many thanks and good luck to the Rhinos in the Play-Offs!
James from SPSR

Tom Palmer said...

Thanks James. I only just saw this. It was really good to meet you. I enjoyed talking rugby league - a lot. Good luck with everything. Tom