Happy Research

Aka happy coincidence.

One of the things I love about research is that unexpected little nugget that pops up and makes my day.  For example, when I was working on the WIP, I knew the area I wanted the high school to be set.  But I wanted to make sure I didn’t use a specific high school, just because 1) I wouldn’t know it well enough to do it justice, and 2) I could have much more fun creating my own high school with its own history.

One thing I did settle on, however, was to have its location be identical to a high school in Cleveland.  On the one hand, this gave me a specific area to focus on, and in the other I knew that I could have a high school, located on this street that had enough space for several buildings and a football field, because there already was one there.

Then there was the graveyard.  In one of the scenes, the characters leave the school and head for the cemetery.  Entirely by accident, they’re actually heading for their car when they go the wrong way and come to this:

Monroe Street Cemetery

Monroe Street Cemetery

That is not only an actual graveyard in Cleveland, but it’s the closest graveyard TO my school, and its within walking distance.  I didn’t plan it out that way, but c’mon.  For a story with ghosts and monsters, having a graveyard that looks like THAT?  It’s kinda perfect.  And it happened entirely by accident.
Writing Tip of the Day:  If you’re like me, and the sort of person that forgets minute details about your story once you’ve started to make some real progress, consider keeping a few extra files to keep organized.  I have my outline files, but I’ve also got a file for my minor cast, those people who pop up in one or two scenes along with a little blurb about anything we learned about them.  Since I write YA, I keep a file with relevant details about my schools – how many students, school colors, mascot, teachers names (and the classes they teach), etc.  This way, if I’m adding in a scene at the end and can’t remember who the chemistry teacher was, I can find it a lot easier with my Minor Cast file than by doing a search for “chemistry” (which I use a surprising amount of times in a book, but never in real life).  Go figure!

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