Thursday, June 16, 2011


Have been watching a community talk about research. Most of the conversations revolved around how far do people go for research but it got me thinking about something else having to do with research. As in do you love it or hate it?

Personally, I love it. I enjoy digging for something and educating myself further. Luckily, my real life job involves a lot of this as well. In fact, recently at work I spend two solid eight hour days searching for an answer. I found it at the completion of those two days and when my boss thanked me for my persistence, I said that had been just like searching for a treasure with a map without a big black X-marks-the-spot.

A lot of the time, research for a book is just like that. Sometimes, I’ll get an idea in my head of how something should go, but I have no idea what the environment is like. For instance, recently, I had a scene in a book that took place in a morgue. I didn’t actually visit a morgue but never underestimate the power of the internet. It’s not just for surfing…well, you know. Find a good search engine and you’ve got the ultimate research tool right there. A good day of research and I knew far more about morgues and autopsies than I ever thought I would. As it turns out, I have a good friend who is a college professor of anatomy. She called me up one day and asked if I'd like to see the cadaver she just got in for teaching her classes. Oddly enough, I took her up on the offer. Really, you just never know. And to be honest, I was extremely fascinated.

Just as you shouldn’t ever underestimate the power of a good search engine, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of simply asking a question. There are times when you need a specific answer to a specific question and the power of the internet search engine is just too broad.

I think that no matter what you write, be it romance, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, there’s an element in research to it all. I’ve always thought that having a basic knowledge of something can make me well versed in whatever I’m writing about and can make the experience for the reader richer as well.

Research, for me, is a highly enjoyable process. Almost as much as writing in the first place.

Anyone else have any odd or extreme lengths they've gone to all in the name of research?


Annie Nicholas said...

I'm not big on research. I do what I have to do to make my story believable but it's too easy for me to fall into the trap of researching and not writing. LOL

I spent two weeks studying quantum physics to see if my new WIP would make sense, then translated all that information into layman terms. Can you spell 'headache'?

JoAnne Kenrick said...

Interesting question, Sara!

Gotta say, I enjoy the research part of writing -- sometimes you stumble upon the most craziest of things that makes a whole heap of sense, and give my plot bunnies a major party in my head! How do you think I ended up with a book about Mullo?
What i don't like is researching for titles... I end up with pages and pages of useless words and song titles that don't work for me in the slightest.

Sara Brookes said...

@Annie, I like the getting caught up part, but yes, I agree I could easily get carried away and forget about writing entirely. Not a good thing. LOL

@JoAnne, Titles are weird for me. Sometimes they just plop in my lap and other times I end up with pages of scribbles like you.