This whole idea of research is new to me. I was an English major. The most I had to do to research a paper was to go to the OED and look up the root of a word so I could figure out what it meant in Shakespeare’s sonnets. As a poet, my research trips mostly consisted of trips to the local library to read up on some obscure subject; then I would take a few words from the book and put them in a poem. Voila, done.
Evidently this is not how nonfiction books are written. I am going to California to visit relatives in order to interview them. I bought a voice recorder in anticipation. I got the main victim, er, subject, to agree. I have a couple places to stay. A cousin has promised me fish tacos. I looked up a train schedule. Holy shit, this is real.
Now I have to come up with interview questions. I need to know enough to ask intelligent questions. I need to anticipate what I’m going to write about so that I can come up with the right questions. I need to take myself seriously so others can take me seriously. I need to work up the nerve to print out some work to show said relatives.
What am I forgetting? How do you prepare?