Friday, November 03, 2006

BOM: The Research

The Awakening required research in a couple of new areas: first, New York City. Fortunately, I'd been there recently. Second, I had to research agoraphobia, which is usually defined as "fear of open spaces." But a person truly suffering from agoraphobia can experience panic in any unfamiliar place, and over time, his or her world grows smaller and smaller. I read books on the disorder, but it wasn't until I talked to Patsy Clairmont, who used to suffer from agoraphobia, that I got a real handle on the personality traits Aurora would need. I got more useable information in a ten-minute talk with Patsy than I did through reading a couple of books.

I also had a character who was an economist, so I had to do a bit of research on that. Fortunately, a New York Times article on the guy who originated "freakonomics" fit that bill and gave me just what I needed.
I had to research New York apartments. I found a lovely book with original floor plans from New York apartment buildings, and placed Aurora and friends in the exact plans of an old Manhattan building. That was fun.
I also had to think about the Christian content. Even though I intended The Awakening to be a parable--an earthly story with a heavenly meaning--I knew some readers would do well to get through the story, let alone dig for the deeper meaning. (Parables are like onions--and some folks only want to pull off the peel.) So I made one character, the next door neighbor, a Christian. It's a little overt Christian content, but not too much. The real spiritual meaning lies beneath the surface . . . by design.
Tomorrow: the writing


Anonymous said...

There's a typo in this post I thought you may want to correct (since you're a writer and all). In the paragraph about the economist just before "freakonomics" it says: originalted instead of originated.

You can delete me now. :)

I hope you don't mind this kind of comment. I guess I think of it like I'm eating lunch with a friend and she has food in her I tell her or not? If I'm her friend, I tell her! :)

God bless!

Angela said...

Thank you for telling me I had a typo in my teeth. :-) I feel better now.


Anonymous said...

heheheh "there's a typo in my teeth" ...

have I mentionned how much I love The Awakening yet?

Kristy Dykes said...

Love reading these segments of How A Novel Was Birthed. Thanks.

Cindy Swanson said...

Angela, this is interesting for me because "The Awakening" is one of my favorite books you've written. I really loved it.

Susanne said...

Just found you a couple weeks ago. I love your books and can hardly wait to read the Awakening! This site is so interesting to me, reading how your novel came together. Just thought I'd let you know.