View Full Version : PM'ing "specialists

04-04-2013, 07:54 AM
I did a search of the "Specialists" thread. While I also added my areas of expertise, I was moreso looking for experts I want to contact. Is it considered bad form to just PM folks?

Ari Meermans
04-04-2013, 08:11 AM
Yeah, that's not a good idea. It's much better to ask your question here in Story Research where those who are able to provide an answer may do so if they are so inclined without pressure. The added benefit to you is the ability to weigh various viewpoints and see possible new dimensions to your research that you may not have considered. The benefit to the community is that there may be others with the same question(s).

04-04-2013, 08:24 AM
TY Ari! Any tips on how to phrase my queries? Previous attempt got locked quickly. :(

Ari Meermans
04-04-2013, 08:51 AM
Oh yes, I see that. Okay, well it looks like you need to specify what you need help with and to read the forum guidelines for Story Research, as suggested. For my part, it seems you have eight characters about whom you seemingly know nothing. I say "seemingly" due to the lack of specific situational questions. If it's a specific career or job question you have, ask that, for instance. You can't expect the community to build eight characters for you. See what I mean?

04-04-2013, 01:33 PM
Ari's right.

There are other areas of the forum (e.g. sandbox) to kick around ideas on character development as well. If you have a specific research question that you need to answer, that's appropriate for this forum.

An example of a specific research question is:

What clothing would an upper class society lady living in London in the early 1920's wear?

That gives us place, time, setting, etc.

You're also expected to have done some basic research on your own. Nothing annoys folks more than being asked a question a basic google search can answer.

04-04-2013, 06:32 PM
Stephanie: Physics Professor, women's football player, "butch" lesbian

So, for example from your previous thread, what do you want help with for this character? Do you want to know if Stephanie is a suitable name for a baby born in 1967 on the isle of Jersey? Do you want to know about the life of a women’s football player? Do you want to know if a “butch” lesbian is likely to be a women’s football player? Do you want information on what a Physics professor is likely to do all day?

Or are you asking if we think that cast of characters could interact to make a good story? (Which would go more in the sandbox than here.)

In addition to the Who and What, don’t forget When and Where!

Where is this story taking place? In addition to Country, State or Province or Canton helps as well.

When is this story taking place? In the 1980s? Today? In an alternate universe where one must be a lesbian professor with a sports hobby to stand as a Member of Parliament in the Republic of Quebec?

You're also expected to have done some basic research on your own. Nothing annoys folks more than being asked a question a basic google search can answer.

Absolutely! You can find things out about female football players, the extensive diversity of the lesbian population on the planet, and physics professors all over the web. Once you’ve done that research it’s much easier to pin down where your holes are and ask more specific questions here.

Good luck!

04-04-2013, 09:55 PM
TY guys! I'll try to develop my question asking ability. Guess I don't know my characters as well as I thought. :(

04-04-2013, 11:13 PM
No reason you should have the entire cast fully-formed in detail all at the start - just because they're fictional doesn't mean they're going to tell you all their secrets right away!

04-05-2013, 03:03 AM
If you write using the 'discovery' method, they'll come to you. You'll learn about them the same way the reader does.

Oh of course some 'back story' helps, too, but don't overdo it. Too much of it before you start will tie you down and confine your writing.

imo of course

04-05-2013, 03:40 AM
benben's post makes me wish we could "like" posts! :D Thanks for that.

04-05-2013, 03:41 AM
jaksen-tell me more about the "discovery" method. BTW, where in MA are ya?

Mr Flibble
04-05-2013, 04:24 AM
jaksen-tell me more about the "discovery" method.

You put your character in a situation and discover them while writing (this happens to many people even if they plan, because inspiration often comes while writing, not before, and your subconscious comes into play)

As for PMing experts - If you've interacted with them in other threads and/or IF it's a very specialised subject a really nice 'I'm sorry to bother you but' PM might be okay. But make sure you've researched as hard as you can first. We al have other lives/commitments etc. I won't do your research for you, but if you have a specific question, I'm happy to help (and most people are, if it's not covered elsewhere very much and you are nice about it).

04-05-2013, 05:02 AM
Fibble-I have a book of prompts. Need to dig it out and sit down and plow through it, with at least my lead characters.

04-05-2013, 05:09 AM
benben's post makes me wish we could "like" posts! :D Thanks for that.

If you're logged in, there should be a little white icon in the bottom left of the post for giving the user reputation points. That's at least as good as "liking". :-)

If you ask specific questions, you will get MORE than enough information. But definitely need to get more specific - for example, I know a fair amount about barefoot running, but what do you want to know? There's so much information that there are already multiple books on the subject.

If you're still brainstorming, pay a visit to sandbox. You can get lots of help there too.

04-05-2013, 09:58 AM
mel-figured that out when I hovered over it, wondering what it was. :D

Do own books on barefooting. Will definitely visit the sandbox. (Promise not to "pee" in it)