how to ask others for input in your novel during research phase - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 08-18-2008, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What are the logistics when asking others for information/ideas/advice during the research phase of writing a book?

Are you supposed to, up front, say, "I'm in the process of writing a book and I have questions about X. Can I ask you about X?"

Or can you just, in conversation, say, "I wonder, when X happens, what do you think most people do in that situation?" and just put feelers out there and take mental notes yourself without the person you are talking to unknowingly be helping you out with your book.

I have done it both ways and I feel like I'm sneaking around when I just do it in passing, so I end up mentioning that I'm asking the question more for my book than just to make small talk. But what are you supposed to do, ethically, when you are setting up plot, scoping out things that you think may or may not fit in your book? I would think that non-writers would be put off or even scared to talk if you approached them with the idea of adding to a book. Or people might start getting board of you mentioning that you are writing a book.

I just wonder, is there an unwritten rule on how to do this? Or is it not an ethical question?

thanks
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#2 of 3 Old 08-21-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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That is a good question. I have wondered about that myself. I hope you get some good answers.
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#3 of 3 Old 08-25-2008, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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well, I guess there is no wrong/right way to do it, HOWEVER, I've found that when I ask someone about a certain something (whatever that may be) I know in my mind that I'm working on my plot/character and that this answer might help move my book along...so I feel guilty when I don't let on that I'm fishing for ideas or trying to flesh someone out.

I usually ask my question first, get the response, then fill them in...only because I'm still unsure of people's response when I mention I'm writing a book - my family is annoyed that I am so I assume most people would be.

However, I think it's still not ethically correct to get the info first. I might start out by saying, from now on, "I'm in the middle of working out the kinks in my plot and I was wondering if you knew anything about _____"...or something like that. It's not to say that you are really going to use that info in your book, but it might help you out of a tight spot, so I mention that too. I'm always looking for plausibility, so I usually have 1-2 people I can ask about certain situations.

So, in essence, I've answered my own question HTH anyone else with the same Q's...
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