Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Research II: Obtaining Sponsorship

You know that moment where you write about something really cool? Like, maybe your MC throws a disc in a game of disc golf, or takes off running in a cross country meet, or stands up in front of peers at prom to sing some karaoke? And then you realize...

Crap. I don't know what I'm talking about.

Me (black) and sister (tie-die) preparing to sing karaoke.
The dismayed, "What am I doing here?" face is why
this picture is here :)
There's a point where you can't just make something up because in fiction, things have to make sense, or at least, be plausible. For example, if you're at a soccer game, you're not going to start dribbling the ball with your hand. Some people may not know that, but a majority will.

This is the point where you have to do research and fully understand what you're writing. Sometimes it's as easy as going to a middle school/high school and chatting with some kids. Sometimes you can google, "What are tents made out of?" (Which I literally did yesterday.)

In My Sister's Memories, Allie and Mike were stellar disc golf players. I sided more with Sarah (the older sister) who ended up in the trees. I'd played a couple of times before, once at church camp when I was in like, 8th grade, and once in August when I'd evacuated for Hurricane Irene. This second time, I played with my friend Jake and his friend Greg, who were extremely good players.
An excellent place to play if you're ever in Burlington, NC

At the time I'd played, I didn't expect disc golf to appear in a novel, but in November, that's what Allie ended up playing. Because I'd taken pictures with Jake and Greg, I had a decent recollection of the day and the game, but it had still been awhile since I'd played.

Now, I lived in Maine and had no idea where disc golf courses were, and didn't own any of my own equipment. So, I contacted Innova Discs, sent a simple e-mail saying:

My name is Lynne Schmidt, and I'm an author doing researching on disc golf for my young adult novel. (I told them the premise of the story), and then said, I was wondering if you'd be willing to donate some discs for my research?

Sure enough, less than a week later, I had an Innova Disc box waiting for me on the kitchen table. It was April before I really got to play, but when I did, I took note of the surroundings, the way I threw (and still managed to end up in the trees). But I got to play, I got to do sponsored research, and it was fun. PLUS! I got to keep the discs for future playing!

So, what's my point? Sometimes we don't have money to fully research our projects (after all, we are writers). But sometimes, we can contact companies, and they'll be willing to help us out in exchange for a blog post. If they're not willing, trust me, the lack of response doesn't hurt nearly as much as getting rejected from agents :)

Here's to research and here's to sponsorship!


  1. Wow! That is too cool! I don't know if I'd have the guts to do something like that! I've only played a couple of times in my life as well but I've always enjoyed it even though I totally suck :)

    1. I'm a sucker for free stuff. This whole reaching out and contacting companies, I learned from AWP. The worst they can say is no :)


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Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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