As a writer, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. I really try to narrow that down so that most of my job is doing the actual data collection of living life and interacting with interesting people. I'm fortunate that I live in a place where that can happen on a daily basis -- I just have to make the effort. This weekend I was in Tahoe. I kayaked, saw a recreational marijuana store, toured an amazing lakeside condo, and attended a locally-acted historical/ghost tour. Most of all, I met amazing people who all had a story to tell.
I have to be reminded to plan to get out more. I have a whale tour coming up for a birthday party. That sounds like it could be full of great tales, no? I once visited a lighthouse where a whaling boat had crashed onto the rocky shore. Maybe I'll get the end of that one.
My new idea opens with a Victorian widow approaching my heroine -- as I was approached this weekend. I thought to myself, what if she said, THIS. And that is the best part about writing. You can tell people what to say. This is why Hollywood is currently baffled over the Weinstein issue. No one is writing their dang lines. They're not all that brilliant when a writer hasn't researched their words for them.
Sometimes, research takes us to places we don't want to go. And we learn things like Gary Cooper was one of the biggest womanizer's in Hollywood history. Plugging my ears now. Covering my eyes. This is why sometimes, fiction is better than the truth.