Because I wanted to make things easy for myself, I set my current novel in my home town, as I've mentioned before. But as I do all this world-building, new story ideas are coming to me, and not all of them are for plots that fit in the home town. Which has got me thinking: How do authors plan their research trips?
If the way this novel works is any indication, I would have to make about three to five trips back to the location in which I'd set the story. With each edit, I've realized I need more information, and at times, more scenes in new places. If I didn't plan for these changes on my original research trip (and how would I, not knowing how the story would change with edits), I'd have to return to the place of choice. That could get pretty expensive, given where I choose.
Of course, I suppose there's always the Internet, movies, documentaries, the library, and personal contacts to turn to, but nothing can quite replace the feelings/vibes each person gets when they're physically in a location. Plus, if Madison gets to go somewhere fun, I want to go too.
I've concluded that if just trying to wrap my head around what would be necessary to plot and plan a novel in a foreign-to-me-but-real-to-the-world place is hard, then I'd better wait for several published books down the line before I attempt such a feat. Still, I'm looking forward to it. And I just know that new story ideas will come to me while I'm traveling--they always do, and it'd be fun to see where it would take the series.