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Monday, February 20th 2012

9:58 AM

Research Is For Fiction Writers Too!

Today I read a comment about my virtually nonexistent blog from a very sweet Twitter friend.  It seems that I have seriously lapsed in posting blog entries, and I want to thank Dannie Hill for bringing it to my attention in such a kind manner.  My only excuse is sometimes, life gets in the way...

Over the past three or four months I have been involved in tasks completely un-related to writing.  I know...imagine life without writing!  But, this weekend I put everything aside and got back to my current work in progress, Shadows of Truth.  I think I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the research and writing process!

Research, you ask...well, of course!  I research topics for all of my work.  For my current WIP, I decided to research something my father told me about.  He was a Tunnel Rat in Vietnam, a fact I knew nothing about until this past September.  Yes, that's right...throughout my entire life, my father never discussed his military service.  But that's to be expected...I'm a girl and an only child...and that was Vietnam...

So, as we perused his photo albums and discussed his work in Vietnam, I learned what an incredible job he had...a job I had never heard of before.  Those tunnels were definitely confined spaces and a flashlight, a Colt .45 and grenades seem a far cry from the arsenal one might want when confronting danger.  But not for my father...

I have thought a lot about his reminiscences since that day and started researching Tunnel Rats to find out more.  The available information and photographs are incredible.  One showed a soldier crawling through a tiny tunnel with a flashlight, pistol and a smile...lol!  Amazing...

The topic came up again last night when I had a discussion with a Twitter friend, Roger Grubbs, and he made a fantastic point.  If I am truly interested in this topic, why not write about it?  Exactly...and why not incorporate research I have already completed into my current WIP?!

So, without giving away too much of the plot and specific scenes in the story, the Tunnel Rat in Shadows of Truth is a ghost reaching out to the main character, Analise Michaels.  If you didn't already know, Analise can see ghosts and talk to angels.  She travels to faraway places without ever leaving her room.  So, it makes perfect sense to incorporate the ghost of a Tunnel Rat into the story.  For me, the most exciting aspect of this addition to the story will be Analise's ability to see, hear, and feel everything the Tunnel Rat experienced. 

Seems to me that this will be the perfect excuse for more discussions with my father, an experience that is one of the richest and heart-felt sources of research available!  If any of you have information about Tunnel Rats, I'd love to hear from you, as well.  For me, research is key and I am always open to new sources!

 

88 Comment(s).

Posted by Dannie Hill:

I'm really glad I gave you a bit of a push, Gale. This was a great post! I too serviced in Vietnam and the term Tunnel Rat brings back some tough times. Your dad has my admiration. He is a man with guts!

You're right about the research as well. I think much of my education comes from looking things up and being amazed. Glad you're back!
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