Friday, January 08, 2010

Research (and lots of it)

I find myself more inclined to update this blog now that I have followers. Makes me feel special. Hah. One never really knows how many people may be reading their blog, but now I know that a few people do, and what better way to keep them around than by providing content to read? Granted, it may not be timely content, or always useful (as this is my writing blog and can be quite casual), but it's something to read nonetheless.

So the other day I was thinking about all the weird and seemingly random research I've had to do over the years for my writing. Put all together, it's just....weird. I mean, regularly a person wouldn't ever need or even desire to look up half this stuff, and yet when you become a writer, research is important, even necessary, no matter what you decide to write about. Some people may think that writers of fantasy or science fiction or even romance don't have to do research, but they couldn't be further from the truth (and we know it). So I've decided to compile a list of all the things I've researched (that I can remember), and while I'm at it, I encourage others to showcase their research as well, and maybe we'll remind people about all the work we put into our novels, no matter how ficiticious or ridiculous they may be.

  • Future weaponry (I intend to put a thank you to the FBI in that novel; thanks for not knocking down my door and arresting my ass for all the stuff I've looked up)
  • Different species of deer
  • Parthenogenesis
  • Poison plants (one of the reaons I'm itching to get my hands on Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart)
  • Weapons from past centuries (swords types, distance weapons, the effect of various weapon on various types of armor, metals, you name it)
  • Quantum Physics
  • Theoretical Physics (Michio Kaku is my hero)
  • Human biology
  • Medical advances and future ideas
  • Cell biology
  • Pathogens
  • Nanotechnology
  • Wolves
  • Castle fortifications
  • Fighting styles (using both my firsthand knowledge and examining other styles)
  • Clothing (time frames vary from medieval to possible future fabrics)
  • Hiking equipment (making sure they still make 'em like that)
  • Mythology (fairy rings, gods, legends, creatures, etc.)
  • Magical properties of items (flowers, stones, plants, etc.)
  • Languages
  • Rock climbing without present day equipment
  • Seafaring vessels

That's all I can think of right now, though I'm sure there are more things I've forgotten.

It can't be tiring sometimes, all that research. And let me say, science fiction is more of a pain in the ass than any other genre I've dabbled in. Especially when you get Earth involved.

Good reference books are priceless.


Amalia T. said...

I've found myself drawn into doing INCREDIBLE amounts of research myself-- and that's on top of a formal education in the field which I'm attempting to write. My book is fantasy, I suppose, but it has a healthy dose of history to it, and even if it didn't, the present is informed by the past. But that's the awesomest part of writing-- that you get to learn about all this random stuff! For work!

Lillian C. said...

Gosh, I know what strange research is like. I think the weirdest things I've looked up for a book are medieval torture devices/methods and the effect of excessive human blood consumption on a human. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, too. I don't do as much research as I should, however... meh.

Your research list is awesome!

Bukarella said...

Very cool post!
I love this part of writing. The most interesting research for my projects revolved around norse mythology and shaolin monks (the videos on youtube on the subject are quite freaky!).

Nicole said...

Haha, yep. I think for some of us, there are things we've reserached that would completely freak out other people.

Except writers automatically win because we learn something new every day! (..or at least whenever we need to).

C R Ward said...

Some times I get so caught up in the research that I forget that I'm researching for a reason, not just for fun. :-)

I love weird and unusual stuff, and sometimes I share my findings on my Tuesday blogposts.