AREA OF FOCUS – Short Piece Research
I wrote Honeymoon Story in Spring of 2015. It was my second semester sophomore year and I had never taken any writing courses, outside of beginner level composition classes, prior to this. I had no idea how to compress a story in a format suitable for a short story, while still filtering characterization and clear details. I chose this piece because it does a nice job of showing not only how much I improved between Next Time, I’ll Take The Clothes Out and Honeymoon Story, but because this story was also a fine example of small scale research.
This creative non-fiction piece is written about my grandparent’s experience on their honeymoon. It is a comical story about newlywed uncertainties, one that I I have heard many times before. I have always enjoyed this story because it is often told in two parts, from my grandmother’s perspective and then again from my grandfather’s perspective. This story translated well into creative non-fiction because of it’s two sided nature. I chose to write the story in third person because I wanted to be able to speak clearly about both characters, while still telling the story internally from Ella Marie’s point of view.
Unlike with any of the other research projects I have had in the past, I began not by consulting the internet, but by asking source itself– Bill and Marie Crump. I began by recording audio files of them each telling me the story. I did this over a matter of weeks, having them each tell me the story every time I visited. I did this for two reasons, so that they could get used to telling me the story and so that each time they told it I gained more information. Often whatever my grandfather would forget, my grandmother would remember. This back and forth story telling method worked well for getting the base story information that I needed.
After I had the main information I needed, I was free to consult other sources for smaller details such as prices. This fact checking method of researching and writing was merely a taste of what I would later do while writing my thesis novel, Senseless. I believe that my experiences while writing this piece lead to a story that is accurate and personal to my family, audio files that I will cherish forever and to an overall understanding of how to begin researching.