If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Research, research, research...:)


I’ve always loved learning new things.  Years ago, when I first set out to write a book, I didn't know I’d be researching topics like: plot arc’s, pacing, platforms, etc…It's been very enlightening and mostly fun. :)

What has been even more fun though, is how many totally obscure things I’ve learned about. Here is a handful of things I’ve picked up in the course of writing:

Concept art of the Multiverse
Garden of Eden
What  the Multiverse is and why scientists believe in parallel worlds.

How to pickpocket someone.

Where the Garden of Eden is thought to be located.


As my characters go down different roads, so do I. I can’t travel those roads without knowing the landscape that surrounds me. That necessitates a lot of research—most of which will never be in the book-but will enrich it in subtle ways. Whether I want to write a fact that can be verified, or a description that's realistic, I’ve found research to be an inescapable part of writing.

I remember the time my characters decided that their escape route should be through the tunnels of New York.  A Google Image search of the tunnels turned up the book, “The Mole People—Life in the Tunnels beneath New York City.” It turns out that there are hundreds of people that live in the abandoned tunnels and subway stations under NY.  Not only was the book really interesting, but I could definitely see one of those people becoming a very cool character in one of my stories.

Then, while looking into Amazon reviews on The Mole People, I happened to see that the author had written another book: Orphans of the Living: The Story of America's Children in Foster Care. Since every story I’ve written somehow ends up including  a teenager who has grown up in foster care, that book immediately caught my eye. 

Although nothing from that book will ever make it into my novel, I ordered it anyway—as a way of knowing my characters on a deeper level and bringing more authenticity to them. 

I just love how many different paths writing takes me down, and how I end up learning about things that I never even thought about. 

So, how about you guys? Do you like to research? Hate it? What’s an exciting topic you discovered while writing your novel?  What was the most boring thing you were forced to look into? The most bizarre? The one that changed your book the most? Tell me about some of them...

15 comments:

  1. Hey,

    I love research when it is a subject I warm to, like history, and slog along when it's a subject I have no vested interest in like Norwegian fishermen's boots.

    I am also a wanderer, too, and sometimes find myself distracted - but having fun - on an entirely different subject :)

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    1. Yeah, it can be pretty awful when you are stuck researching something boring. haha. But it's definitely fun when you can hop from one thing to another just because it's so interesting. A time-waster...but still fun!

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  2. Oh my gosh I've often wondered if anyone ever seized my computer's search history, they would think I was a certified lun-a-tic! LOL In researching for a MC that's a Marine Corps sniper gone rouge I learned all about making home made bombs and weapons as well as lots and lots of USMC history.

    Once, I visited a down-town, super sketchy tattoo shop, in order to pick the brains of some of the artists and late night clients to get some inside info on what sort of tattoos one of my characters might rock. When I told my friends and family they all said I was completely bananas, but everyone at the shop were all super cool, and very helpful to me. Being a writer can be such an adventure!!

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    1. Haha...I know exactly what you mean. I've had to look up how to kill people with your bare hands, how to make a Molotov cocktail, how to be an effective pick-pocket, etc...etc...My computer hard drive must make me look like a nutcase!

      Glad you got some good info. at the tattoo parlor! Did you find a good tattoo for your character?

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  3. Sometimes going off on tangents is fun! It can lead to some odd discoveries.

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    1. yeah, it definitely can. I was just looking for a map of the subway's when I discovered that book, The Mole People. That happens all the time when I'm researching...one cool thing leads to another. :)

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  4. I love research, too! You can learn so many fascinating things!

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    1. Definitely! I'm much smarter than I was before I started writing. :)

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  5. research is exciting! i love it! i learned about lasers, new technology, and futuristic ideas! i should look up how to pick pocket!

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    1. It was a cool subject! (the pick pocket thing) I actually found a step by step guide to it. haha

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  6. Lord, do I EVER love to research! I totally get bogged down in researching, with the unfortunate consequence of not writing. I think I need help... ;-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. haha...I hear ya. It can definitely be a time waster, but it's always fun...

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  7. Research is so fun. But can be distracting. So much interesting stuff I discover I can't get into the books but I'm saving it all up!

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  8. I haven't started a book yet, but I do love the research.

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)