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Alpha Echo
08-11-2008, 08:59 PM
So for my latest WIP, I have had to do massive amounts of research. My male protagonist has cancer, and I had to decide which kind of cancer I wanted to give him, plus all the things you need to know about cancer - how one discovers cancer, treatment plans, treatment options, insurance coverage, hospital stays...plus all of the vocabulary involved. I've emailed doctors, printed entire blogs by cancer survivers, also by cancer patients who ended up dying at the end, printed brochures and all kinds of things.

I have realized I LOVE the research!!

I've always enjoyed school work, learning, researching, and I think that's part of why I'm having so much fun now. It's the first time in a long time I've actually learned something new.

So my question is do you like to research? Or do you try to stick to what you already know, rather than venture out into the unknown?

If you do research, what's your process? Do you use the internet or the library? Interview experts in the field?

I'm just curious. :)

Sargentodiaz
08-11-2008, 09:16 PM
I agree!
Conducting research continually keeps my mind working and I truly enjoy the things I learn.
How in the world did we get along before the Internet?
I love to check in with Wikipedea every day as the front page has a lot of great information (I don't care what people say, it's a fantastic source for information).

Soccer Mom
08-11-2008, 09:16 PM
I'm a research junkie. I research just because I'm insatiably curious. I research things I may never write about...just because I MIGHT write about them.

I'm sure there is a twelve step somewhere for me, but I refuse to attend. It isn't a problem. I can quit anytime I want.

'Scuze me, but I've got a book on medieval castles calling my name.

Calla Lily
08-11-2008, 09:22 PM
I lurves my research. :LilLove:

Sarita
08-11-2008, 09:28 PM
I love it. It's my downfall, really. I dig too far. This is why I need to be back in school! Then I'll have an outlet for my anthropological geekdom. :)

I'm working on a novel set in Ireland and have loved researching all the old agriculture laws and poetry. *sigh* I just want to keep digging.

Blondchen
08-11-2008, 09:34 PM
*raises hand*

I've found that the research effects the plot. I get exciting ideas from research which can sent me off in an entirely new direction.

I like a mix of Internet and books. The Microsoft Word highlighter function is me best friend. I just take notes on everything, then sift through later and see what I need.

Tachyon
08-11-2008, 09:37 PM
Hello from the other side of the fence!

I despise research. :D I love learning, and I love reading, so even I'm not really sure why I tremble when the R-word comes up. You could say that I don't mind the act of researching; I just dread the whole concept of researching.

The problem with "sticking to what I know" is that I don't know very much. My experience in life is limited, and not very interesting (that's why I love to read and write). So although I dread it, I do have to research.

Most of my research is rather cursory. If I'm interested in a topic, I'll usually start with Wikipedia. It is obviously not the most reliable source of information, but most articles are good for gleaning general information, and the ones with citations will have links to other, more credible sources. I did that with "execution by burning" a couple of weeks ago, since I intended to burn one of my characters at the stake.

It's always good to have friends who have experience too. If I have a question about law, I ask my dad, who's lawyer. I'm hopeless with hardware and tools, so I can ask my brother about those subjects.

Oh, and Discovery Channel. I love watching Discovery Channel documentaries, mostly on history.

Alpha Echo
08-11-2008, 09:44 PM
*raises hand*

I've found that the research effects the plot. I get exciting ideas from research which can sent me off in an entirely new direction.



I agree with that! This weekend, pretty much all I did was research. In so doing, I changed a couple of my plot ideas and thought of a couple new directions! It's so exciting!

WendyNYC
08-11-2008, 09:46 PM
I didn't really care for research until I went to a lecture from a research librarian. It sounds like a snore, but it was really interesting. And she gave us a great resource list. I posted it here, on my blog (http://wendypinkstoncebula.blogspot.com/2008/07/swc-day-6-research.html), should you be interested.

DeleyanLee
08-11-2008, 09:50 PM
Depends on what you call "research".

If you think that my 40-odd years of reading non-fiction, biographies and such because I've been curious about and enjoyed the topics is research, then I definitely am into it.

If you think that it's just looking up facts and tidbits of info for the current or soon-to-be currrent project is research, then I hate it. It's a great expenditure of time and effort whilst I'm writing and I'd rather pull something out of my butt that works for the story than interrupt myself to look something up. Unless I want to procrastinate, of course.

Totally depends on how you define it.

Blondchen
08-11-2008, 09:51 PM
Wendy, great list! I'd like to add the Google books function, which allows a truly virtual degree of topic searching within their ebooks. Some presses like Forgotten Books link all their printings to Google books versions.

Alpha Echo
08-11-2008, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the list Wendy! I bookmarked it!

ink wench
08-11-2008, 10:58 PM
My job title is Research Associate. So, um, yeah research is my life. And I love it - just usually not the kind people pay me to do! Writing research = excuse to go buy/read cool books about stuff I never thought about before.

Wendy, thanks for the link!

JoNightshade
08-11-2008, 11:03 PM
I loooooooooooooooove research!!! I think back fondly to when I was about 14 years old, digging up every piece of info I could find about lobotomies. Just because it was freaky and cool. My favorite areas of "research" (otherwise known as learning cool stuff) are medical weirdness and biographies. Every once in a while I fall in love with some historical figure and read everything I can about him.

Alpha Echo
08-11-2008, 11:06 PM
I fell in love with the story of the Titanic. Maybe it was the movie and romance associated with it, but I did all kinds of research on it. I may use it one day in a story....

Kryianna
08-12-2008, 06:10 AM
I'm with DeleyanLee. I love doing research the vast majority of the time. Quite often I think I should have been a research librarian, as I'm a queen of hunting down random pieces of information.

But when I'm writing, I want to write. I don't want to break off my writing to spend 30 minutes tracking a fact down that is used in one sentence. I'll research gladly for 40 hours before starting writing, but once I start, I just want to keep going. I'll fact-check later.

Alpha Echo
08-12-2008, 06:44 AM
But when I'm writing, I want to write. I don't want to break off my writing to spend 30 minutes tracking a fact down that is used in one sentence. I'll research gladly for 40 hours before starting writing, but once I start, I just want to keep going. I'll fact-check later.

I totally get that. I'm the same way. Once I'm on a roll...I just wanna keep rolling.

But research before you start rolling?

Bring it on!!!

BenPanced
08-12-2008, 08:15 AM
:cry: :flag:

Matera the Mad
08-12-2008, 08:19 AM
I'm an addict


a happy one

RLB
08-12-2008, 08:25 AM
I have mixed feelings, usually because I put off my research until I'm actually writing the passage, then I have to stop and go look something up, or flag it for later. Once I start researching, I enjoy it. It's just motivating myself to start. And then I know something cool about some new subject.

This week's topic: anthropometric test devices (aka crash test dummies). Before the ones we have today, they used to use cadavers, live (consenting) humans, and animals, primarily pigs. Who knew?

Riley
08-12-2008, 08:34 AM
Weird thing: I hate researching. HATEHATEHATE. But I love reading. Everything. I also have several knowledgeable people to speak to. So I have a wide knowledge of things here and there. I'm pretty familiar with the medical field, somewhat familiar with military ops (not in the military myself, but the rest of the family was,) and have also become familiar with the occult, internet culture, and various random bits.

The point? I work with what I know. I can't remember a time where I had to do extensive research for a book. Then again, I also write speculative fiction, means I can MIU (Make It Up). There's almost always someone for me to ask, or I can piece an idea together from fragments.

Some people call what I do researching. I call it pseudoscholarship. Maybe there isn't a difference between them?

In general, it's better to do a little too much research than a little too little. Good for you that you enjoy it. When you research, if something catches your eye, read a little more into it. Then branch out. I've started out with Japanese etiquette and, through various different subjects, ended up in Beijing, then in India.

Woodsie
08-12-2008, 08:41 AM
I like research. I get to learn and, in my writing, I get to teach. I like interviewing people, too. You get to test theories, ask questions that make them think and that gives you a small idea as to the impact your book can have.

Blondchen
08-12-2008, 09:31 AM
As if on cue, Amazon delivered me two research books I just ordered. Woo hoo! Between that, the Olympics and my recent unemployment, I swear I'm not leaving the house this week!

ishtar'sgate
08-12-2008, 09:50 AM
So my question is do you like to research? Or do you try to stick to what you already know, rather than venture out into the unknown?

If you do research, what's your process? Do you use the internet or the library? Interview experts in the field?

I'm just curious. :)
I love doing research. Maybe too much as I always think I don't have quite enough information even with my desk piled high with books, pictures and computer print-outs. I prefer to tackle things I don't know and research them until they're familiar.
I don't think I have any particular process for doing research. I write historicals so usually I gather together as many books as I can from brick and mortar and online bookstores. Right now I'm researching ancient Babylon so have only found three books - one written fairly recently by Joan Oates and one I found online from a London library. I stumbled across the third one in my father's library. The interesting thing about my dad's book is that it was written in 1859, well before ancient Babylon was excavated. Speculation and fact are often very different. Online research provides conflicting information but lots of artwork and photographs so my wall is plastered with those along with many many diagrams of the city itself, the main gate, wall construction and temple layouts.
As far as experts go, IMO the only experts are those who actually lived in ancient Babylon so I have to be content with reading translations of cuneiform tablets written by Babylonian scribes.
Linnea

Write4U2
08-12-2008, 10:40 AM
I didn't really care for research until I went to a lecture from a research librarian. It sounds like a snore, but it was really interesting. And she gave us a great resource list. I posted it here, on my blog (http://wendypinkstoncebula.blogspot.com/2008/07/swc-day-6-research.html), should you be interested.

Thanks again, Wendy. I always find your blog interesting and helpful. Inspiring, even.

Research? I LOVE research. I researched my current ms for three years, even traveling to England to go to all the places I wanted to use to set the scene.

The next book is about bees. England. Israel. Kidnapping. Trust me; I will tie this all together. It's very tekky, too.

And it's about genius children. Had to research them, cause I ain't one.

Another book is about Hollywood. That's going to be the MOST fun to research. I can almost walk there from Phoenix. Well, not really.

I want to play a DB on one of the csi shows to experience how they put the show together. Think I have a proverbial snowball's chance in hell for that one?:ROFL:

Linda Adams
08-12-2008, 02:43 PM
So my question is do you like to research? Or do you try to stick to what you already know, rather than venture out into the unknown?



Yes and no. Depends on the subject. I've had to research a number of subjects. One included change management, which is pretty dry subject, and I didn't enjoy that. I also ended up on a Holocaust Web site looking at pictures of actual victims because I needed to describe victims of magic experimentation. It wasn't a good experience.

On the other hand, I also had to research Hollywood scandals and Hollywood rogues, and that's been a lot of fun.




If you do research, what's your process? Do you use the internet or the library? Interview experts in the field?


Though I've used the Internet, it hasn't been an effective tool for me other than very simple information. I needed to know how many eyes a spider has, so I found a photo online. But when I needed to know what a fire fighter's coat was called, I ended up in an encyclopedia and then a book about a fire fighter (and then found something very useful that I needed for the story).

What I'll often to do is look up the library's catalog online, see what titles are available and where, make a list, and then i go pick up the books. If any are not available, I put them on hold. I also visit Borders or B&A about once a month and check out their bargain books. I picked a book on Baroque, which turned out to be helpful.

I also visited the library sale for research materials. That was where I really lucked out. I was thinking I was going to have to spend a small fortune getting an auction catalog from the auction house, and the library sale had five old ones--with markings and even an after auction report inside. Though I'm thinking I may have to actually attend an auction at some point and also go to a wine tasting.

And the election has provided a lot of news articles in The Washington Post on weird things (like an article on where all the men go to get their conservative suits made and one on hangdog photos) that I'm on the lookout for.

By the way, if anyone is researching a major city or another state, the tour guide can often be requested for free from the official Web sites. Takes about six to eight weeks.

tehuti88
08-12-2008, 08:32 PM
I write about what I'm interested in. And since I'm interested in it, reading and learning about it is really fun for me. I have about 90 books now on the subject I write about for one story, and am always on the lookout for more. I don't know if I would call it research because for me, it's just reading what I like to read, but I really do learn from it and use what I learn. So...I guess, if it's on a subject I'm truly interested in, that I adore research! :D

Granted, I mean of the reading and taking the occasional note variety, not filling up notebooks with information, color-coding it, stuff like that...I had enough of that doing term papers in school, even on the subjects I liked, ugh. I think the issue is with the word "research"--I know what images that conjures up for me--the stuff I just described, taking endless tedious notes and organizing everything into outlines etc. etc. If "research" means just "learning more about what you love," then I bet all kinds of people love research. I'm afraid I don't know how rigid the definition of research is, though. :o

My "research" mostly consists of just reading books and Internet pages on the things I love. Ojibwa culture and mythology of the Great Lakes region is my current passion...just can't learn enough about it. I would adore speaking with experts on the subject, learning the language, and visiting places, but alas, no such luck for a homebody like me. :( I have to rely mainly on my books. *sigh*

I prefer to stay in my comfort zone, but sometimes, my current interest in something can lead to a new interest in something else. I started out interested in Mackinac Island...that led to an interest in Ojibwa mythology...then the entire Ojibwa culture...then Great Lakes history...then the culture of surrounding American Indian tribes like the Six Nations. Fascinating!

Quossum
08-12-2008, 10:10 PM
I'm not wild about research, though of course I do it willingly for the sake of a story. I'm bad about writing things like, "She placed the [whatever you call that type of bit you use for dressage] in Midnight's mouth," in my first drafts, doing the actual research for it while I'm typing up the second draft on computer and I can get diverted by the internet.

If my writing involves a particular topic, I try to get into the culture of people who are "into" that thing by joining message boards dedicated to that sport / activity / issue. Then I get an insider's view, ears of experts on that topic, and pick up the jargon and attitudes of those involved.

--Q

Write4U2
08-12-2008, 10:32 PM
I loooooooooooooooove research!!! I think back fondly to when I was about 14 years old, digging up every piece of info I could find about lobotomies. Just because it was freaky and cool. My favorite areas of "research" (otherwise known as learning cool stuff) are medical weirdness and biographies. Every once in a while I fall in love with some historical figure and read everything I can about him.

LOL! That reminds me of when I was 14, I had to do a report for a health class on "sterlization." I walked up to the librarian and asked for the DDS section number. She sent me to books on sterilizing people, and I wanted to sterlize things to kill germs. Helps to be specific, 'eh? Actually, until then, I didn't know about sterilizing people.

Phot's Moll
08-12-2008, 10:44 PM
Research is good.

Ashleigh-Bridie
08-19-2008, 10:35 AM
I love research! Even typing the word gets me excited :D

I believe it helps my work, and myself, develop.

I am always on the hunt for new sites and research methods people have found;)

Shadow_Ferret
08-19-2008, 05:25 PM
I enjoy research, sometimes to the detriment of what I'm writing, because one piece of information inevitably leads to another and another and another and soon I'm way off track, just learning stuff that is really far afield of what I originally went in for.

But for my medieval story I researched everything, castles, medieval life, weaponry, etc. etc. For my urban fantasy I researched myths, legends, real historical ideas of magic (Aleister Crowley, The Golden Dawn, Freemasonry, Qabalah, AE Waite, etc. etc) to try to be as realistic as possible.

jennontheisland
08-19-2008, 05:38 PM
Full on research junkie. I'd mainline the info if I could.

I'm actually right in the middle of printing out journal articles (at work and I've got about 15 minutes before someone else shows up). I just about squeed last night when I found a paper called War and Finance in the Anglo-Norman State. LOL

thethinker42
08-20-2008, 01:30 AM
I love researching. Absolutely love it. In fact, sometimes I have to order myself to stop researching and start writing, because I get lost in it all.

I use the library when I have time (which is much more frequent now that I am unemployed), but I also have an extensive home library. I use the internet, pick the brains of people I know, whatever I can get my hands on.

Once, a guy sitting near me noticed my stack of books and said he couldn't help but ask what I was doing. I just casually said, "researching for a novel", thinking that would clear it up. He was noticeably MORE puzzled at that point, but walked away. It was only later that I realized he was probably wondering what novel would require research about medieval warfare, nuclear disasters, genetic engineering, fighter jet pilots, and Naples, Italy. LOL Maybe I should have mentioned I was researching *several* novels. LOL

Willowmound
08-20-2008, 01:33 AM
Yay on the research.