Okay, so I have a bit of a focus problem. So that's why I gave myself a finite amount of research time before I started writing on my current WIP, Boss Lady. I've learned from experience that if I don't give myself a deadline, I'll lose myself in library stacks and online databases, never to be seen again.
I spent the whole month of January learning about the late nineteenth-century American west. Pretty much from scratch because all I knew about the era was confined to the John Wayne movies I watched with my Dad as a kid. As much as I admire The Duke, he wasn't exactly what I was going for with Boss Lady. I've learned a lot about the culture that I didn't know before, as well as the clothing, transportation, history, and my favorite, the lizards of Arizona. I now know that Bisbee started out as a mining town and that it was once reported in the Tombstone newspaper that a couple of ranchers stumbled across and killed a real Native American thunderbird.
That's when my research validated my idea. I love it when that happens! And the more I researched that thread, the more substantial my plot got. It doesn't happen often that I get to start writing with a solid foundation. I don't know the ending yet, but I usually get a clearer idea of my destination as I go along.
See y'all next month! Or in 30,000 words. :-)