I love research. I know; I'm weird like that. But I have always loved to search and dig until I amass tons of information about a particular subject. Then I immerse myself in it by reading it over and over, organizing it, recording it, and filing it.
That's the kind of research I've done for my "learning novel" as I fondly call the YA I've been working on for five years. I think of it as a historical, but I believe that term applies only to works set in a time at least 100 years ago. Too bad. I uncovered so much fascinating history about the Depression Era for my "learning novel." I believe it will be jam-packed with history.
I've enjoyed swimming through the following sources:
Micro fische files of newspapers
A genealogy library on location
History books produced by local historical societies
Old church graveyards
Interviewing local residents old enough to remember growing up during that era
Journal entries and interviews
Driving through the back roads of the location
Snapping photos of locations and buildings from that era
Cookbooks printed during the Depression Era
Internet sources for local weather during the time my story takes place
A perpetual calendar for the years during which my story takes place
Old photos at libraries and those owned by local residents
I've uncovered some intriguing people, some authentic names, and some interesting accounts in old newspapers. These things have served as seeds for the events in my story. Hopefully they are growing into a fascinating story in an accurate, realistic setting.
Who knows. Maybe my "learning novel" will blossom into a full blown manuscript. Maybe it will even find its way onto the shelves of bookstores and libraries someday.
That would make me very happy.
But, regardless of its destiny, this manuscript, the research I've poured over, and the craft I'm learning as I write it really have been HUGE learning tools for me.
And I enjoy learning just about as much as I enjoy research and writing.
I'm betting you probably do, too.