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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Joys of Research by Paula Roe



Many writers procrastinate.  Did you know that?  Yes, it’s true!  Sometimes we end up doing housework, knitting, crafty stuff, cooking, a flurry of social media or suddenly rearrange our bookshelves instead of writing. For some it’s a way of resetting their writing clock, clearing their head for the ideas to flow better, or simply a breather from something that may not be working in their story.


One of my favorite ways to procrastinate is research.  I absolutely love starting a book and seeing where those characters will take me, what will happen when sparks fly.  And my first stop in that journey is to find visuals.  What do my hero and heroine look like?  Where do they live – house, suburb, country?  How do they dress, where do they like to spend their time?

My February title, Bed of Lies, started out a little different, in that I originally wrote the first incarnation of this book over fifteen years ago.  I started with Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality) as the visual for Luke, my hero, and Monica Potter (Parenthood) as Beth. But as I edited, cut and rewrote, these two ended up not quite right for my secretive massage therapist and her alpha male banker.  So after hours of trawling through pictures of hot actors – Yes, it’s a tough life :-) – I chose Gabriel Aubry (swoon!) and Katherine Heigl.  A pretty good match to the cover, if I may say so.

Then I needed to find a nice, expensive place Luke’s mobster uncle would live in. Do you know how many gorgeous homes there are in Queensland’s Gold Coast?  I rejected home after home, until I found this one: a perfect representation from a realty site.  Of course, there’s the fashion and shoe sites, which I probably spend more time on than any other :-)  Sometimes I’ll find what I’m looking for right away, but most often I’ll be clicking for hours. 


In the end, I tend not to think of my copious hours of googling as ‘procrastination’, but rather valuable research.  Okay, so I may buy a few books on the way, read a few tabloid blogs, bookmark some excellent places as possible holiday destinations... but it’s all filed away, ready for possible use another day.

So what’s your favorite way to procrastinate?  Do you have a favorite blog or site?  Comment and one random poster will win a copy of my latest book, Bed of Lies.


***Paula's winner is Di!!  Congratulations!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your details so Paula can get the prize to you!***

31 comments:

Paula Martin said...

I love researching houses, apartments and hotels, but hate researching fashion and shoes. Also I start off the other way round with my characters - I have a picture of them in my mind, and then will see someone on TV or a picture in a magazine and think 'That's Abbey' or 'That's Jack.' I once saw a poster in a shop window in Dublin (advertising Guinness merchandise) and immediately realised the male and female models were exactly as I'd pictured the two main characters in my WIP.

Laney4 said...

I play Mah Jongg way too much (http://games.goodhousekeeping.com/games/mahjongg-dimensions.aspx). Addictive for sure. I also do lots of Kakuro and Sudoku puzzles.
When I SHOULD be working, though, I tend to clean out places that have been on my list for ages (like the laundry room). My reasoning is that if I did what I should be doing, only that would get accomplished - but if I clean the laundry room first, then I get both done (but in a rushed manner for the latter).

Paula Roe said...

hey, hey Paula (sorry, couldn't resist!) I love checking out apartments and houses, especially in areas I've never been (just finished a book that's set in New York, Georgia and Maryland). Google Earth is fab for that :-)

Hi Laney! With all those puzzles, you're still keeping your brain sharp ;-)

Debby said...

For me I love to play games on my computer. It is fun.

Jane said...

I watch TV and I also waste a lot of time browsing for deals on internet like Zappos and Overstock.

Linda Henderson said...

I do a lot of looking around online, go to different blogs and burn time on Pinterest. Usually for fun I can go to Jill Shalvis' blog, she is pretty funny. I also like Jane Porter's blog. I like to look up diet information to help me in my ongoing weight problem and to learn how to keep my blood sugar lower. I'll go to Ebay and Amazon and look around. You never know where I'll be looking. I also like to watch House Hunters and House Hunters International on HGTV, I think it's fun to see how people live in different parts of the country and out of the country too.

seriousreader at live dot com

Renee said...

AAAHHHH! Procrastination! I am so good at it. I can find laundry, dishes, putting away, wrapping up, and anything else to put off doing what I don't want. I love to surf the net looking up places or finding new blogs or new books. Reading or reading or reading is a way. Of course, there is always reading. This last one I am particularly good at and have often been faulted for overlooking things as a result.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Paula,

I have some 20-25 blog site favorites listed but
there is no way I could ever visit them all in
one day! My special favorites are the Romance
Bandits, Petticoats & Pistols, Plot Monkeys,
Tote Bags & Blogs, Goddess Blogs, Way Past Normal, Wilde Women, Dangerous Women, Writeminded_Readers, and the web site blogs of Anne McCallister, Caridad Piniero, Julie Anne Long, Kate Walker, Annie West and Anna Campbell. Three favorites which are no longer in action: Diamonds Down Under, Writer at Play, and Silhouette Desire blogs. I'm tired just from listing these blog sites!!!

Di said...

So many ways to procrastinate....reading is probably my favorite, or watching TV, or even doing chores like dishes & laundry.
Favorite Blogs: Warm Fuzzies, Tartan Ink, Paperback Dolls, Ramblings from this Chick, Not Another Romance Blog, Goddess Blog, plus many (probably too many) more of course includeing Tote Bags n' Blogs!

writershannon said...

Yes, procrastination can be cleverly disguised as research. I recently spent two weeks searching for the perfect loft in Chicago for my heroine. By chapter three, though, she's living in an apartment - with a turret! Awesome! Totally wouldn't have thought of it if I hadn't been procras... er, researching.
Did you know I should be writing now, instead of reading this fabulous blog and commenting? But no, that's not procrastinating. Not much.

marybelle said...

So many ways to pass the time & put off things that need doing. I always make a cup of tea, then either jump on the computer or grab a book.

Alison said...

Fortunately, I'm very forgetful, so after about eight seconds I tend to forget what I was meant to be doing and happily go off and do something else. Blogs for killing time - Smartbitchestrashybooks is great!

pageturner345@gmail.com

TashNz said...

One word: Pinterest ;)
Actually two... Blogger.com hehehehe

Paula Roe said...

Debby, my son frequently hijacks my computer for those games :-)

Paula Roe said...

Jane, I discovered Zappos when I was researching my last book - all those SHOES!! problem is, they either don't ship to Australia or it costs way too much $$$ (or maybe that's a good thing? ;-)

Paula Roe said...

Hi Linda! Ebay, Amazon - yep, that's me too. If I turned on the TV you'd never drag me away...

Paula Roe said...

I try to limit my reading as a night reward, Renee. Otherwise I'd never get anything done!

Paula Roe said...

whew! Some of my faves in there too, Pat :-)

Paula Roe said...

wow, I haven't heard some of those, Di. Will have to check them out (oh noes, another way to procrastinate!)

Paula Roe said...

LOL! I was checking out New York apartments and had my hero in one that didn't quite work. My clicking took me to Wikipedia and I learned heaps of stuff about NY architecture and the history of the old buildings :-) So it's a good thing. Oh, and I ended up buying a poster of NY skyscrapers... ;-)

Paula Roe said...

I have an awesome earthenware cup/bowl that holds a copious amount of coffee, marybelle. So I don't have to keep going into the kitchen for a refill :-) Although I've been seriously thinking of installing a coffee machine in my office...

Paula Roe said...

Alison, I love the Smart Bitches reviews. So much LOL!

Paula Roe said...

Hey Tash! Actually I can't get into Pinterest - I look at the links that get posted on Twitter but apart from that... WAY too much procrastination going on there, even for me :-)

Michele L. said...

Well, I do love to play computer games and have a favorite site that offers way to many free computer games with free prizes! I am one of those people who gets what needs to be done and then I relax. I rarely procrastinate. I know, I am boring. I guess it comes from working at an architectural firm for 18 years where I had to get architectural drawings done and out the door on time or face working overtime to get it done. That happened a lot when the project managers would overlap project deadlines and we were working on 3 or 4 projects at once. Talk about stress! So, I learned really quick not to procrastinate.

Plus, when I was given a drawing that was especially difficult to do, I would start with the easiest stuff first and work my way up to the hard stuff, that way I got the job done faster. Also, the job wouldn't seem so daunting. I learned all these tricks to get the job done and fast! Also, I would plug my headphones in and listen to jazz music, so I could concentrate better. That way, I couldn't hear the people around me talking or the phone ringing, which made it easier for me to work.

Laurie G said...

Romance websites and FACEBOOK. I'm addicted to the Food Channel network too.

Chrisbails said...

I love Facebook and Twitter. I also like Avon Romance, your blog Tote Bags and blogs, love the authors sites like Laurell K Hamilton, Jeaniene Frost, and many others. Also like Cats, Book, & blogs. Love Barnes & Noble. Just about anything book related.
Would love to win and read your book. You are a new author for me and always looking for new authors to check out.
christinebails@yahoo.com

Paula Roe said...

Yes, people, Facebook and Twitter are THE perfect procrastination tools :-D

Paula Roe said...

Hi, Chrisbails! good luck on the draw!

Eli Yanti said...

i love open facebook, chat with my friend, reading book and listening music ;)

Paula Roe said...

terrible, terrible me! But appropriate for a procrastination blog, yes? ;-)

So the winner of my current release, Bed of Lies is... Di (commenter #8, not counting me). Yay! Let me know your address and I'll get your book off asap.

Paula Roe said...

a few of my favorite things too, Eli!