Monday, August 25, 2014

WELCOME AWARD WINNING AUTHOR DONNA MCDINE

Monday Musings
I bought a new camera because I wanted one that could take longer distance shots. My little Canon is great for close ups so now I can take both. The new one is a lot more complicated but I will figure it out.
 
Today, my guest is Award Winning Author Donna M. McDine. I also call her my Cyber Daughter. Donna has written an interesting post about research. Enjoy.
 
Which Requires More Research, Historical Fiction or Fiction?
 
From a youngster I’ve always enjoyed reading about history, especially Abraham Lincoln. And looking back to my first published children’s book, it came as no surprise to my parents that I gravitated toward the Underground Railroad. I have always been fascinated by history, even to this day when I read the Daily News recap of New York City history I jot down notes of points that interest me. Hey, you never know what can be developed into a historical fiction manuscript.
 
Now that I have four children’s book published, two historical fiction (The Golden Pathway and Powder Monkey) and two fiction (Hockey Agony and A Sandy Grave) an often asked question is… Which requires more research, historical fiction or fiction? I absolutely love this question. The research aspect may not be equal for the two, but both do require research.
 
For instance…
 
The Golden Pathway, I immersed myself with everything about the Underground Railroad and slavery. From the Underground Code words, to the treatment of slaves and not everyone believed in slavery. As I was researching this in-depth topic I wrote notes as to how I envisioned the fictional characters story to be betrayed, from their names, surroundings, and mannerisms to eventually pulling together for the sake of freedom.
 
Powder Monkey is based on the press gangs of the 1800’s Royal Navy.  My research on this topic astounded me from the onset since I never knew about this part of world history. Boys’ as young as twelve were kidnapped from their families and forced to work on ships, often times never reuniting with their families. Truly a heart wrenching time period. Creating characters that are true to the time period of history can be tricky and it helps my writing process to search images from that particular time period.
 
Even though a fiction story is made up from the imagination, research is necessary to stay true to the subject matter.
 
Hockey Agony is based around peer pressure, bullying, and hockey. For the hockey aspect, I needed to conduct research of rules of the game, what a zamboni is, arena setup, etc. Once I created the story and character outlines it was then time to research all things hockey to stay authentic to the game.
 
A Sandy Grave, I conducted research for marine biology and the Endangered Species Act and the Mammal Protection Act to make sure I had the rules and regulations down pat. Then blending in everything I enjoy about the beach, intertwined an unusual beach adventure.
 
The difficult part for me in researching and writing historical fiction is to stop the research and get down to the nitty-gritty of writing the first draft. In writing fiction, once I have a story and character outline created (yes, I interview my characters with specific questions to see how they would react in certain circumstances) I begin my first draft. This process brings my characters to life for me and hopefully for the reader.
 
If you are a writer I’d enjoyed hearing about your experience as a writer. And if you are an avid reader, what do you enjoy reading more, historical fiction or fiction?
 
Bev, thanks for hosting me today. I look forward to interacting with visitors.
Bio: Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. With four early reader children’s picture books to her credit, A Sandy Grave (January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) and a fifth book in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI. Visit Donna at www.donnamcdine.com or www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com
 
Happy Reading!

34 comments:

  1. I contemplated historical, but I'd want to get it right with my ocd so take a ton of research I think for me

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    1. Hi Pat,

      Thanks for stopping by. The research can definitely consume you. That's why I make a point of keeping a detailed outline, so I can refer back to for further inspiration.

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. Hi Pat. Research for me never ends. When I think I have all I need, I keep going back to make sure it's all right. Language, clothing, food, etc.

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  2. Terrific post, Beverly, and great info, Donna! I find it can be difficult to stop researching and start writing as well but, ultimately, having a wide range of research from which to draw aids in the writing process.

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    1. Hi Karin,

      Glad you enjoyed my post! Being members of the same critique group and the conversations that go along with our critiques has aided me in my publication dreams. Thanks!

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. Thanks, Karin. I've know Donna a long time and she writes beautiful stories. My research never ends, either it seems. Always want to learn more.

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  3. When people ask me if I research, I laugh and say, "No. Why do you think I write fiction?" But you're right, even my super villain academy series sends me off to research things like, "What would you find in the muscles that a super villain might be able to 'ignite' to create a power?" and "What causes the spark in lightning or the after rain smell?" Even made up powers need to be believable. Great post, Donna.

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    1. Hi Kai,

      Definitely! Each morsel of our writing needs to be believable! Love your quotes!

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. And you do a very nice job of getting your facts just right, Kai.

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  4. Congratulations, Donna.
    Both require some research. Even with the genre I write, I have to get the science part right. Or at least plausible.

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    1. Alex,

      Especially in the science it needs to be authentic. Keep up your great work!

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. That's right, Alex. Readers tend to catch the little details, so they need to be accurate.

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  5. Hi Bev (cyberspace mom),

    Thanks for hosting me today! I will popping in and out today to visit and comment. The weekend was a world wind with getting Nicole back to college. Happy to say she is all settled in and classes start today!

    Best,
    Donna

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Donna, and writing such an interesting post. I can't believer your daughter is in college. Where do the years go?

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    2. Times goes by way too quickly. It's incredible that she has started her second year!

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    3. It sure does. I keep thinking My kids can't be that old. :)

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  6. I agree Donna, the research is the most fun, but creating the story is fun also. Now the marketing, well, just a fact of a writer's life. I wrote a story about a fictional character that took place during WWII. Just to use a few little facts, I needed to research quite a bit. Thanks Beverly and Donna for a great post.

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    1. Hi Susan,

      Thanks for stopping by and joining in on the conversation. I find marketing myself much harder than the writing. Good luck with your submission process on your historical fiction story.

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. For me, Susan, when I start researching, I don't want to stop. The past is so interesting. :)

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  7. I like to write about things I know so that research is minimal. ;)

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    1. Hi Beth,

      Thanks for stopping by and joining in on the conversation. Writing about what we know and what we are passionate makes for great reading!

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. I do that as much as possible, too, Beth. I enjoy the research but neglect the writing when I'm learning all this amazing stuff. :)

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  8. I'm working on a historical novel about ancient Rome, and I've spent enormous amounts of time researching. It's been a great journey and I've learned much more than I'm able to include in the story.
    I've enjoyed reading comments from your other readers. I agree that both the research and the writing are great fun.
    Thanks, Beverly, for hosting Donna with this interesting topic.

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    1. Research is fascinating, Barbara. Best of luck with your story. I bet there is a lot of information about Rome. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. My apologies for my lateness in responding. I let the remaining dog days of summer to distract me. That's what I enjoy about research the additional information unearthed for another book or article idea!

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  9. I love research. Google has made it so much more fun. But I still spend time in libraries withe microfiche. Good article Donna.

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    1. The "old" ways of research are good, along with the new. Thanks for stopping by, Susan.

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    2. Again, my apologies for my lateness. Was enjoying the waning summer days. Oh, how I love microfiche. My girls look at me cross eyed when I use that word. When my girls were little and they heard microfiche for the first time, they wanted to know why a "little fish" was at the library.

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  10. Great guest post, Donna. I've enjoyed reading all of your books and I look forward to reading book #5 when it comes out.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susanne. I'm looking forward to the next book too. Must read the others first.

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    2. Yep, several days late. Delighted everyone has chimed in on their thoughts. Awww, you are one of my greatest supporters. Thank you!

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  11. Donna's one of my favorite people! So great to find her here today with another of my favorite people.

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    1. Aw, clee. Thanks to one of my favorite people. Aren't friendships, even though cyber, wonderful. :)

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    2. Better late than never, I'm finally chiming in. Awww, you make me blush. The outpouring and connection of support through cyberspace makes me feel as if we have met in person. You guys are the best! :)

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