NaNo November from Hawai'i
Contributor

I am entranced by the photos posted from writers in cold climates as we reach November and winter sets in. Posts are puncutated by cozy coffee shops with steaming cups of coffee or tea, wool socks, and more apple cider donuts than I care to think about. Sweater weather? Not exactly here in Hawai'i, though it is cool enough to wear a sweater for a whopping 30 minutes each morning before it becomes too hot and I toss it for a t-shirt. 

For me, winter has always been a time to hunker down and settle in, a hibernation of sorts. I'm sure I'm not alone in that sentiment. As a Bostonian celebrating my third autumn in Hawai'i, the fall often ushers in a mild case of homesickness (particularly for the aforementioned apple cider donuts). This year though the longing for crisp air hasn't evaded me, I am finding myself energized by the (slightly) cooler temperatures and by the pansting approach I'm taking to my novel. Don't get me wrong, I love a good plan. But maybe I'm just coming into my own writing groove this year? Maybe my attempts to grow my writing community are what has me raring to go? Regardless I feel far from settling in and more like setting out - sunglasses and flip flops in hand.

I was very nervous about the research needed for this novel. I'm setting my characters in a community in the future. It is a community based on a real one that is not my own and I want desperately to get it right - or as right as I can from my own perspective. I want to be sure that cultural humility is a cornerstone of this work. Before I started to write, I wasn't really sure what things I needed to know, which felt entirely overwhelming. Now as the characters take me on their journey, I am able to jot down notes as I write each chapter about the details that need exploring. I am setting up research excursions on the weekends between writing sessions. I always thought of research as something to be done before the writing begins but now I can see how helpful it will be for me to guide my research directly from the novel and characters themselves. 

What is your research method? How much research do you do before, during, and after writing?

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