In just two weeks, I’ll be on a plane heading for the great metropolis of Tokyo to meet my daughter. I’m very excited to see her after her 11-month sojourn in the wilds of America, but almost as exciting, I’ve taken a couple of extra days in Tokyo to do some research for my 2013 NaNo, A Little Affair in Greater Tokyo.
Justine and Kat have talked about their research trips on this blog – I think all of us Ladies enjoy travel, and appreciate what a shot of reality does for grounding a story. So, I’d like to offer my checklist for the trip. Take a look, and tell me how I can do it better.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE:
1. Re-read my draft and trace my characters’ journeys. Make special note of the physical places where the turning points and climax happen.
2. Get on the internet, print out maps and gather important information (like menus, opening times, closing times, etc.) for the places I want to go. Make reservations if necessary.
3. Look around for a good pair of walking shoes and break them in.
ONE WEEK BEFORE:
1. Write a detailed itinerary – where will I be each hour of the day? Have I included time to type up my notes? Is it realistic? Does it include some “fun” items that aren’t related to my book? (I’m a big believer in serendipity.)
2. Be sure I understand how I am getting from Point A to Point B to Point C. Will it be cheaper to buy a day pass, for example, or to buy tickets individually? I am very lucky that the transportation is great in Tokyo, and also that my muses threw up a story that doesn’t require a rental car! (Hooray for muses!)
3. Start collecting my trip stuff in a bag. Specifically for the writing research: extra battery for my computer, water bottle, bath salts for the post-walk recovery, pencil, pen, notebook, camera, battery for camera, check the SD card. Chargers for everything.
THE DAY BEFORE:
1. Double check my bags.
2. Hydrate properly, feed myself, get to bed at a decent time.
3. Re-read my story before bed for luck.
1. Take notes of dreams and morning impressions.
2. Get to the airport on time!
Anything else I should keep in mind? I’d also love to hear about your research trips, past, present or future, in the comments.