Research in Creative Writing

Research in Creative Writing
Learning Targets
 I understand how authors’ use short and sustained
periods of research for a variety of purposes.
 I can identify the types of purposes (to add
specificity, develop metaphors, and enhance
imagery) for which an author might use research.
 I can utilize purposeful research in a variety
of mediums to meet specific purposes in my
own writing.
Using Research to Add Specificity
 Word Choice- Author’s carefully comb through
words and make the most concise and suitable
choices for each situation, especially when editing
EX: not sad, but despondent OR the use of dialect
 Realistic details- Author’s research to “get the
details right” and “name things”
EX: not “a truck,” but a dark green Studebaker or not “a car”
but a cherry red convertible Camaro
Using Research to Develop Metaphors
 When authors choose a symbol, they need to be true
to actual thing being compared- research into
metaphors can also add complexity and depth to
EX: If I were writing about a peacock and comparing it to a
woman, it might change the meaning of the symbol when I do
research and realize that the only peacocks who have beautiful
plumage are the males.
Using Research to Develop Imagery
 Authors research to determine sensory details- this is
different than just naming and describing physical
features of objects, it can also be about first-hand
research to add realism to the experiences of the
characters. Even with direct experience, this is often
necessary. Just because I am a mother doesn’t mean I
know everything about motherhood- research fills in the
EX: Having a real life experience to prepare, or
watching/reading/conducting interviews of other’s first-hand
accounts to describe an action/event
Consider activities like surfing, acting, or even lion taming- primary
sources would help to describe the feelings and settings for those
events to make someone feel as if they are “there”
Examples: What type of research? To what end?
 Explicit: “Honeybees depend not only on physical
contact with the colony, but also require its social
companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee
from her sisters and she will soon die.”
 Explicit: “A worker [bee] is just over a centimeter
long and weighs only about sixty milligrams;
nevertheless, she can fly with a load heavier than
 Implicit: “Don’t even think of swatting. If you feel
angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts
a bees temper.”
Examples: What type of research? To what end?
 “She kept 48 hives strewn through the woods around
the pink house, and another 280 were parceled out
of various farms, in river yards and swamplands…
I watched her load the red wagon, the one I’d
seen in the backyard with brood frames, those little
slats that slip in the hives for the bees to deposit
honey on.”
Examples: What type of research might this
be(e) : )? To what end?
 “If this was a man’s world, a veil took the rough
beard right off of it. Everything appeared softer,
nicer. When I walked behind August in my bee veil,
I felt like a moon floating behind a night cloud.”
 “When August removed the lids, the bees poured out
in thick, black ropes, breaking into strands, a flurry
of tiny wings moving around our faces.”