Coffee with the Baybz

By Melanie Page

‘The time has come’, the walrus said
To talk of many things….

And talk we did. The BookBaybz all met up today for one of our working/ chatting/ planning gab-fests (oops, extremely productive, coffee-fuelled, brainstorming sessions). We had two ring-ins, fellow writers from the local area. And it was a salutary lesson about how much goes into all our writing.
Wren and I were talking to Karen, one of our visitors, about haberdashery…. ‘What’, I hear you say… ‘But you are writers, not the local knitting club’.
That is just as well, because I’m much better at writing than I am at knitting. But I digress…

So there we were, talking about haberdashery, because knowing the details of historical clothing is important. What were buttons made of? What was the name of those gold lace things on military uniforms? How many layers of petticoats were typically worn?

A book is not merely a story with the requisite number of characters and some exciting bits, maybe some kissing, unmasking the villain and they all lived happily… well, you get the picture… No! A book is a million tiny details, woven together so seamlessly that the reader doesn’t even notice them. And that is perfect. The only reason a reader notices details in a story is when it is wrong… like a small sports car being driven in the background during the chariot race in Ben Hur… or Gandalf pulling out his mobile phone to call up the Elves for aid.

Then, when an author gets it wrong, it is jarring. It literally drags the reader out of the story.
We DO NOT WANT that to happen.
And so writers put inordinate amounts of time into background research to get those details right or at least make them plausible, so the reader accepts our word for it.

Research is a time-sink. If we did as much research as we need to, we would never write…
And so other writers (and the internet… ok… ok) are an amazing resource. In fact, other people are even better than the internet… because we know what you mean… you don’t need to put the right words into a search engine….

Writers are generous people. We help one another. We go out of our way to send each other links, ideas, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on… We give praise, congratulations, constructive criticism and moral support…

All for one…
And I’m again reminded of my favourite Tom Clancy quote…

tom clancy success

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