Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On Researching

Due to not only my own experiences but some friends' experiences, as well, I can say the following with a rather large amount of confidence (excuse the expletive):

You find some weird sh*t in a writer's search history.

Why? Well, it's simple: we need to know some weird and admittedly alarming things in order to make our books realistic. And I mean things that would make J. Edgar Hoover cringe if he was tapping our internet. For example, today alone I researched: how to make a fake I.D., what would happen (generally) if a nuclear bomb went off in the middle of a city (I found a really interesting video from the history channel where they go through the consequences of one hitting Washington, D.C.), and history's deadliest diseases.

Fake I.D., nuclear bombs, disease. Honestly, put a fresh pair of eyes on that and what would you think?

The word "research" makes a lot of people cringe, including me. Three weeks ago I was finishing up three different research papers that were making my head practically explode. Research is no friend of mine.

But to everything I say, there is usually an exception, and the exception to research is: I love researching when it's fun.

Kind of a no-brainer, right?

When you're writing a book, the reins are more than likely in your own hands. It's your plot, which means that you're more than likely writing about things that stand out to you, that interest you. To give you an example, take my book, The Hollow Men: it's about a futuristic world erupting into war, and it centers around espionage and human/machine hybrids, to put it bluntly. Right away, I can give you three things that are worth researching with these things in mind:

-past wars and military techniques (I'm drawing heavily on WWII for this novel)
-espionage (current laws and also ways in which people might get dragged into it, and also how they might hide their involvement)
-the theory of cyborgs and advanced prosthesis (I think that's the word; I had to look it up), and theories of how a human body could endure/survive in extreme circumstances

That's more like six or eight things, but hey. And the best part: I love learning about these things. Hence, why I write about them. So while I would rather just write and hope I sound smart, researching itself isn't too heavy a burden because I enjoy knowing what I'm talking about (for the most part; the internet only gets you so far).

Researching for your own books can be fun, honestly. And to give your mood a boost when you're just not feeling it, look in your search history and laugh away at the fact that if the government's watching, they probably want to figure out a way to arrest you because it's honestly a it concerning what writers tend to research.

Happy writing!


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