Yesterday, I had a conversation with one of my coworkers about training. She had mentioned a particular program that she'd taken a course on and I got carried away, completely hijacking the conversation with my enthusiasm not only for the program but by how it was one of those things that you continued to learn long after you became relatively profficient. Then I caught myself and apologized, stating the obvious. You can tell I enjoy learning new things.
That's one of the attractions to writing. As I push forward with a new story, I create situations for the characters to get themselves out of, challenges for them to face, plot points, suspense. In my current work in progress, I went the route of fire. Then I had to stop. What do I know about response time and procedures in the event of fire? Not much. So I tapped a firefighter. I gave him my preliminary vision and the things I wanted to avoid, things that would hamper the story's continuity. I picked a good firefighter! He had a brilliant imagination and was very helpful in giving me a scenario that would fit (Thanks, Mike!) I was so excited, that I started to envision using fire more often as a crisis point in future stories! So often we choose murder, or a life-threatening situation involving other forms of violence. Fire can be equally insidious.
One of the other research points in this story involves food. I love to bake, ask my son. I don't do much baking these days as a result of having less people to devour my creations and a conscious effort to avoid eating them by myself. I always love searching out new recipes, and I needed an ethnic one for this story. I'm very excited to report that I found one, in fact I made it last weekend to test it out. While it was very good, it wasn't exactly the way I expected it to be, so I'm going to play with it some more, and then I promise to share. It's called Ofenschlupfer, and its a Schwabian dish (think Germany, Bavarian, Black Forest . . .) and it's apple bread pudding. The recipe I made was heavy on the apples and light on the bread pudding, which is probably the better way to go, but I like a little more balance. The good news, DH liked it and has done a wonderful job of saving me from eating it all by myself. The bad news, he prefers his bread pudding without apples, so my next batch likely won't disappear so quickly. I need test eaters!
The thing about research - when you find the things you're looking for, it's a lot of fun, but when you don't, it can be very tedious. Fortunately for me, this story has been the former so far.
For those moments (and there are MANY) when you say, "what's the point?" while you're writing a story and you're sure no one else will ever read it or appreciate your imagination, stories like this make it worthwhile. The answer to the question? Because I'm having fun! And maybe, just maybe, someone else will enjoy reading it just as much.