Bella’s Scribblings: Half-Term Research

Bella OsborneIt’s nearly Halloween which not only means things get a bit creepy and there are horror movies on the telly, it also means you need to stock up your house with bucketfuls of sweets and prepare to be terrorised by small children. I quite like the change to Halloween. I was quite creeped out about it as a child so it’s nice to see my daughter getting excited about choosing a costume and putting up decorations. Someone once proposed to me on Halloween (you would have thought I would have spotted the obvious warning signs here but I didn’t).

Anyway, Halloween got me thinking about half term which is usually followed by the word ‘holiday’ and that got me thinking about needing a holiday and the mismatch of my need to the availability of cash to pay for one. (I know it’s a tenuous link but stick with it). Then I thought about all my lovely writer friends that are just popping off somewhere in the name of research!

Many a mini break is booked in the name of research. Trips to take in the details of specific locations, to experience things unique to certain places, to take in the atmosphere and ambiance of a particular place. Google maps and the rest of the wonder that is the internet can take you so far but it can’t tell you what the breeze feels like against your face as you teeter on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland or the taste of the weird and wonderful ice cream flavours as you walk along Aberdovey beach in Wales or the sound of the Titanic hitting the iceberg (OK maybe the last one you could imagine).

To really bring some scenes to life what you need is first-hand experience, the opportunity to capture the moment perfectly and then relay this to your reader by adding that required level of authenticity (by the way if you get it wrong, someone will spot it and call it out – and that’s never good). Whilst I was mulling this over the penny dropped, not only are these authors incredibly talented at what they do they are also very smart.

If you are registered with HMRC Tax Office as a self-employed writer there are certain expenses you can offset against tax paid – I am no expert and cannot provide advice but this sounds like it definitely needs more research!

So now I am considering whether my high rise office comedy could possibly be relocated to New York or perhaps a small Devon coastal town?

So I am off to get myself registered with the Tax Office, well once I’ve decided where I want to go for a holiday… I mean research trip.


N.B. Tax is a complicated subject. An accountant who specialises in dealing with authors will be able to provide the best detailed advice. HMRC Tax Office are also able to provide advice and guidance.


Bella has just finished her first novel, Acting on Impulse, which earned her a runner-up place for the New Talent Award at the 2013 Festival of Romance. Every fortnight, Bella will be sharing her experiences and advice as a new author. She also has her own blog –

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Novel Kicks
About Novel Kicks/Laura...
Novel Kicks was founded in 2009 and is run by Laura who is currently living in Hampshire, and lives with husband, Chris and her cat, Buddy. She would love to be a writer. She’s trying to write the novel she thinks so much about. She’s loved reading and writing since ‘Creative Writing’ classes in primary school. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything she can get her hands on, she loves reading, dancing like a loon, and watching Project Runway and Ugly Betty (her two TV guilty pleasures.) She also has an obsession with chocolate and Jammie Dodgers.

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