Monday’s Friend: Carole Tyrrell

Today I am pleased to welcome Carole Tyrrell to my blog.

I am ………..Count…. Researcula
By Carole Tyrrell

Research is like a vampire. If you’re not careful, it sucks the life out of you and your work as it’s very seductive and beguiling. See its beckoning finger…just one more piece and your story will sing!

So here’s a cautionary tale…

I wrote a short story set in a derelict asylum which became an upmarket housing estate. It didn’t really work and was put aside. Much later I was visiting the Wellcome Collection library and discovered a section of histories, recollections, and photos of long closed hospitals. I realised why my story hadn’t worked and my research began. I trawled online and discovered the sub-culture of urban explorers, their strange experiences in these buildings and why they did it.

The story sat patiently fermenting.

Research begat more research as I went further into it. I watched documentaries, did my own exploring, swapped stories and heard Ken Kesey’s true image of Nurse Ratched.

The story sat patiently waiting.

By the time it saw light again I had amassed a lot of research and I rewrote it. Everything went in and I ended up sitting on it like an overstuffed suitcase. I had forgotten to sort the wheat from the chaff and assumed the reader would be as fascinated as I was. The story and I knew we’d lost each other. That’s the problem with too much research. It often becomes a huge info dump which stops a story in its tracks. Good research doesn’t show but too much says ‘I’ve done it, I really have, look at this.’ No-one wants to read a lecture.

It went back in the filing cabinet.

The recent TV series, ‘Bedlam’, was set in a former asylum which becomes upmarket apartments. The muse had gone elsewhere.

However, research is never wasted as it can be used for other projects. But use sparingly and only if necessary.

Carole Tyrrell is a writer of dark fantasy who has been published in several magazines and anthologies. She also reviews crime and mystery novels for SHOTS e-zine and is currently working on two major writing projects. Carole is also a photographer, urban explorer and taphophile and plans to have own website in 2012. Some of her photos can be seen on Facebook. Among her other hobbies are sparring with her PC, amusing the cat and posting on Goodreads.


2 comments so far

  1. Pamela L on

    I’m currently doing research for a vampire Victorian paranormal set in my city. For me, it’s a situation of determining what I need to know for my story and only doing the research necessary.

    Research is even more fun when one has to sort through conflicting viewpoints. 🙂

    • sayssara on

      HI Pamela

      Thanks for stopping by!


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