The strangest thing I’ve ever Googled for a story? Recently, that would have to be rip currents in the ocean. I sold a story to Cricket Magazine about a rip current. Rip currents are different from rip tides. Rip currents happen suddenly, which I needed for my story.
You know how I like to place my teen-aged protagonists in danger; a danger they have skills to overcome. I researched rip currents and how to escape them at National Geographic. In my research, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines rip current as:
“A strong, narrow jet of water that moves away from the beach and into the ocean as a result of local wave action. They can flow quickly, are unpredictable and are a result of the shape of the coastline. A rip tide is caused by the Moon’s gravitational pull and is a predictable rise and fall of the water level.”
I love Google to answer a question I might have and for initial research, but people—especially writers—need to remember that not everything on the internet is true. Allow Google to be the start of your research, but not the only resource. I still believe in books and experts—real people—to nail down any understanding of situations in life or in the life of my stories.
Always be sure that you begin researching on a website you trust. I know! That’s getting harder and harder these days. So I go to names I trust. Since my stories mostly deal with nature, I start with the National Park Service and National Geographic. I talk to park rangers; I talk to police departments. It depends on what my question is at the time.
As for my memoir about attending college as a mother of five, I’m crawling through what I hope will be my last major revision of the manuscript. At the same time, I’m considering titles for it.
Educating Mother: A Journey from Community College to the Ivy League was my first consideration. It speaks of who the protagonist is and where she is going and where she ends up—at the Ivy League. Okay. Should it be An Educated Mother? But the main story is about Victoria actually going through college.
Educating Mom: The Power to Believe in Oneself. No journey. No mention of going from community college to the Ivy League. This memoir is about the power to believe in yourself over what others tell you. This title speaks of the internal struggle Victoria deals with in addition to struggling with college classes and family obligations.
*Please offer any insight you may have about these titles for my college memoir. I realize you have not read the manuscript, but if you’ve been reading my blog [thank you so much!] you know the main struggles of the protagonist. In that regard, do you suggest different wording or to focus more on the internal or the external struggle? I truly appreciate all your comments. They help me to move forward with my work.*
I’ll be interested to see how you’ve tackled this month’s question. It’s great having a topic to share our thoughts on each month.
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