Right you are, Keith. When you're writing, don't slow down.
Yes, you will do research ... you'll need to know exactly what kind of car your guy is driving, but during the outline/first draft stage isn't when I do it.
I'll research a bunch before, and after during rewrite and revision. The rule in the middle is "don't slow down."
On movement, and on art.
The way to tell the difference between the real world and art is that art has borders. Pictures have frames, stages have curtains, books have covers. You have to provide the illusion that your created world extends beyond its covers, but you aren't going to need to create that outside world. We'll talk about tricks for doing that later.
I'm going to talk about chess games instead. Chess games are like novels.
I'm going to recommend a book, too: Logical Chess: Move by Move
. I'm quite serious about saying y'all should get a copy, read it, play the sample games, understand it. First off, even if nothing else happens, your chess game will improve.
The other thing is this: chess games happen on a board. The board has an edge, a limit. Therefore, it is art.
Now as it happens, there are only three things that can possibly happen in a chess game. White may win, Black may win, or there could be a stalemate. Exactly how
those things happen is where the interest comes -- everyone knows before the game starts what the range of possible outcomes is. The good guys win, the bad guys win, or we're returned to status quo antes.
The game doesn't start until the first move is made. In the same way, the story doesn't start until the first character acts.
Your pieces are your major characters. Your pawns are your minor characters.
The way you win the game -- no one can foresee how the game is going to go. Not even the greatest chessmaster can see twenty moves in advance. What the chessmaster does is put pieces in useful places. The chessmaster knows that a knight is most useful on QB3 and KB3. So that's where the chessmaster puts them. (This is called "Playing Positional Chess," and that's sometimes what I call my style of plotting a book. As in, "Why did you have Fred slip a gun into his pocket before he left the house?" "I'm playing positional chess.")
If you have put the pieces in their strongest positions, surprising combinations will appear as if by magic later on. The game will play itself; the book will write itself.
If you get a chess set where one side is Army and one side is Navy, you have a technothriller. If you get a chess set where one side is Spacemen and the other is Alien Monsters, you have a space opera. If you have a chess set where one side is modern college professors and the other is faculty wives, you have mainstream.
The moves are the same.
Really, trust me, get the Logical Chess
. Look at it at an angle; it's a writing book.