Saturday, April 26, 2008

Research and Musing

I ordered a new book to use for research today, and I thought I’d ask the other Muses- What do you find most helpful when researching?

I’m one of those “write what you know” people, but “what I know” isn’t necessarily what I have lived. Many times a bit of knowledge from a class I took, or a book I read will be lodged in my brain and will present itself while I am writing.

I don’t usually say, Okay I want to write about X and then go purchase ten books on X, because what if I don’t like X after all? If I need a word or need technical knowledge of something, then I dig for information on it.

I had three majors and a minor in college, so I, needless to say, am a reader in many subjects (and languages!). I always thought I’d do well on Jeopardy, since I am filled with tons of useless knowledge that way!

My current research is still in the form of books that I read for joy or curiosity. If the information proves useful later, great- if not, I gained insight into a topic I was curious about.

I love history books, police research books, forensics texts, and the Worst Case Scenario series. My shelf is also filled with dictionaries: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, cowboy (yes, cowboy), and slang dictionaries from various periods.

Sometimes just the right word is the trick.

And I do love words.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Rowan West said...

This is a cool question. Most of my research is done via the internet, especially in the beginning. I start with seach engine (usually google) and then start clicking around. I am always amazed at what I can find and frequently end up finding something totally unexpected.

If it is a topic that I think I will use more than once, then I start aquiring books. Otherwise, I print what I need and file it in my research drawer.

I have a shelf of writing books, a shelf of erotica/sex books, books on fairies, women's issues, and my current favorite dictionary is a transliterated hebrew dictionary.

The one thing I have to be careful of is that I dont get carried away with research to the point that I forget to write the story!

-Rowan

April 28, 2008 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Julian said...

My favorite research book at the moment: Etruscan Roman Remains by Montague Summers.

I love a good college press research book I can chew through, taking notes on a legal pad in pencil and finding tidbits of information that I can use in my stories.

Actually, most of my books are from college presses because there aren't a lot of mainstream books about Etruscan civilization. I love to spend a winter day curled up to the fire with a 400 page monster.

April 29, 2008 at 1:23 PM  

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