04-12-2013 06:44 PM
This very much varies by topic for me. My previous two novels didn't require a lot of research, but the current one is set in various locations in Europe and the MC is a safecracker on a heist crew, so I've had to do copius amounts of research on everything from lockpicking and safecracking to major heists and how they were performed, Interpol and CIA research, explosives, a whole host of laws, and all kinds of random things like what kinds of food you can get delivered in Vienna and whether you can buy stitch kits at drugstores in Dubrovnik. And that's only what I've done so far - I still need to spend some time with a doctor to make sure all my injuries and deaths are accurately portrayed, with a safe tech to make sure I haven't bungled anything, some time at the gun range to make sure I've got all that stuff right, etc., and then location research is scheduled for this fall, to make sure I capture all the right details of all the right places in the book (smells, flavors, feel for the cities, etc).
It's all very interesting, but OMG there is a lot of it.
I've always maintained that the amount of worldbuilding that goes into a fantasy/sci fi novel and an ultra-realistic "real world" novel is functionally the same, the only difference is where your research comes from.
You're definitely correct that there are some types of fiction that need to be as exhaustively researched as an academic non-fiction work. And on the flip side, there are some kinds of non-fiction (autobiographies, for example) that require very little research.
Writing is wacky fun.
04-12-2013 07:03 PM - edited 04-12-2013 07:05 PM
I write speculative fiction (everything I write has fantastical elements), so I have all the real-word research because I'm using real places and my characters are human or human aspect, but then I have a ton of fantasy worldbuilding too. I built a rules bible for my fantasy stuff before I started (because this is not my first rodeo), so most of the worldbuilding was done before I started with the MS, but I've added and changed things as needed. On the flip side, most of the real world research is still to come.
That said, IMO high fantasy and hard sci-fi are harder to write, because everything is a variable. You get to make it all up, but you have to make it fresh and different, and at the same time make it real for the reader, and that can be really hard.
04-12-2013 07:13 PM
04-12-2013 08:43 PM - edited 04-12-2013 08:44 PM
That distinctly reminds me of the last high fantasy project I was working on (before it had to be shelved due to circumstances completely out of my control). I had written an absolute ungodly amount of background information just on the politics and geography of the two small continents the story was going to take place on. I hadn't even begun on establishing a magic system, much less character backstory or even a real plot aside from a 2500 word outline.
The longest piece was a 14000 word essay (using correct grammar and written in-universe) on the history of one of the countries that the story takes place in. And I'm definitely light compared to some authors (since I generally just write for fun) - Brandon Sanderson not only has hundreds of pages of "bibles" for each series he writes, but also has an overarching bible for the mythos that ties them all together. And the High Fantasy video game Elder Scrolls V had over 1100 pages of books that you could pick up and read throughout the game. Fantasy and Sci Fi authors are a special breed of crazy.
Oddly enough, worldbuilding is the part I enjoy most about writing. I think it's part of the history student in me coming through. I've always loved delving into the little geopolitical, sociological, and economical factors that round out a world. It's also something that really bugs me when an author doesn't put enough effort into it. There seems to be a "here's the forest people, here's the desert people, here's the Anglo-Saxon people" blandness to a lot of mass-market fantasy. That's cool, you have a group of people from the desert. Why did they choose to live there? How has it affected their society? How does it affect their relations with other societies in the world? What is their political structure like? What is their economy based around? How did it affect their religion? How do all three of those shape their interactions with outsiders? Give me meat, darn it, not tropes!
I devour the world encyclopedias that a lot of big fantasy authors are putting out for all that kind of background information.
04-13-2013 12:51 PM
Unfortunately, they don't clarify what that 28% living off of writing are averaging, but presumably it's more than $500. I'm not focused on the $10,000 average. The fact that MORE than half made more than $500 is what I found interesting, assuming that by half, they mean numbers.
Still the wrong focus. If 50% are making under $500 the odds are quite good that 80% are making less than $750.
Consider an artificial example of 99 people making $1000 and just 1 person hitting big with $99000. That produces a case where the average also is $10000.
This is not a bell curve where, for every person making $100 there is another making $19900. It's a skew (at best) where for every 99 making $100 there may be one (whoops, my math was off in the prior paragraph) $990100
04-13-2013 05:10 PM
Keriflur, why don't you self-publish the stuff that 'you had to shelve'?
Word Search, Kriss Kross, Quote Falls, Hangman - Word Game Pack.
Alarm Clock, Weather, Calendar, ToDo - Alarm Clock & Calendar.
3 Hidden Objects Adventures - 3 Hidden Objects Adventures.
04-13-2013 06:23 PM
No, not the wrong focus Wolfraed. I was surprised that they're seeing anything, much less $500. That's all. I get how the numbers work.
04-13-2013 09:16 PM
Keriflur, why don't you self-publish the stuff that 'you had to shelve'?
I don't have anything I had to shelve. Not sure what you're referring to.
04-13-2013 10:15 PM - edited 04-13-2013 10:29 PM
FYI: Here's the full explanation regarding average self-pub earnings from the Taleist survey:
Beware the “average”
On average, the respondents earned just over US$10,000 from their self-published books in the year, and less than half of that from traditionally published books. Behind these figures, however, is what we in Australia like to call a “two-track economy.” A small group of self-publishing authors were earning about 75% of the reported revenue. These Top Earners are as fascinating to us as they will be to you, so we look at them in detail in Chapter 5.
While the average revenue was about $10,000, the median revenue (that is, the point at which half the respondents earn less and half earn more) was under $500, which reflects this uneven distribution. To be absolutely clear, you’d be accurate if you reported that the average self-publisher in our survey earned $10,000. But the reality is that half the self-publishing authors who answered the revenue question earned less than US$500 from their self-published books in 2011. That being said, it’s also worth remembering that 53% of the respondents self-published their first book in 2011, so the revenue analysis is, as they say on election night, based on “early figures.”
Again, I'm not confused about the average, just surprised at the median, particularly considering just over half of respondents are relative newbies. I have spent a lot of hours on hobbies that never yielded anything near $500. Of course, that may say more about the population of Taleist respondents than anything else. These are just the first of anything approaching hard numbers that I've seen on the topic. Can anybody point to more authoritative numbers?
04-13-2013 11:54 PM
AFAIK this is the most comprehensive survey to date. I'm sure Amazon has tons more info but they won't be sharing it.