This truly is the one I think I get more than any others.
I suspect that my process is a little different from some of my peers. Many of them go to coffee shops to write, or have pristine little corners where they do their best work.
My process is a bit like Method acting; I tend to become somewhat immersed in the location and period I’m writing about. I listen to music from the period, visit places whenever possible, and read books set in that time and place (fiction and non-fiction).
I also have a bulletin board over my desk that helps with this. For example, I’m writing several stories set in Memphis and Mississippi for Bayou NonStandard Time (you can read my posts written directly from Memphis here and here, ), so I gathered some paper ephemera during my trip and just put it up over my desk. This replaced the New Orleans display that was there for more than a year.
The only non-related images you’ll see on the board are the pic of my school horse, Maisey, from about 10 years ago, and an autographed photo from actress Karen Dotrice. Like me, she’s actively involved with animal rescue … which she attributes directly to her work on The Three Lives of Thomasina.
I also have a little file with maps, books on my shelves and eReader, and access to the internet if I need to double-check something. I have learned to limit my research to a specific timeframe with the exception of double-checking; otherwise, I’d never write a word.
I am not sure why this method works for me, but it does. What works to help keep you in the story you’re writing? Please share in the comments.