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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May is Research Month!


Does the word fill you with dread?

Or does it fill you with wild joy because you love research so much you don't actually have to write while you're doing it--are you in fact a research junkie? Do you find that you look up one fact online and come back to consciousness hours and many mouse clicks later, dazed and confused?

We can help.

This month, Noodlers and their friends will talk about their areas of expertise--not only what they know but how they found it out, with tips on how to research what you need to know.

And the range of topics is mindboggling--everything from places, jobs, travel, genealogy, horses, and clothes to disposal of dead bodies. (Well, heck, it's something everyone should know...)

Our guests this month include Darlene Gardner, Pam Rosenthal, Loucinda McGary, Kalen Hughes, Jeanne Adams, and Nancy Northcott.

As usual, there's a prize offered to a random commenter--an Amazon gift certificate. So we hope you'll visit often, make yourself at home, and ask as many questions as you like.

Let's share our knowledge and research experiences!

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At 9:40 AM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Joyous dread. Love it, hate the time suck. And I really hate the blind way I approach it a lot of the time, although over the last year I've rounded up a load of wonderful research books (doing my part for the ailing economy!). I also use Goggle books, which is wonderful, but also eats up time.

I still feel like I have a tendency to go in circles with it. I tried following the path of "Just write the story, then fill in research bits later." But of course with historicals you need the big research bits before you start, or your entire story might fall apart.

One example: I was trying to figure out a ball/dance/party scene towards the end of my manuscript, where the hero takes the heroine because he knows she will love it so much, even though he hates all of it. And my timeline was summer of 1816, so I thought hey, what if it's a 'welcome back from your honeymoon for Charlotte and Leopold'; that would impress her. But then I was advised that such a ball might not have happened, and just to stick with an invented party.

I've been waiting all year for research month! :) I can't wait to hear all about everyone's methods.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Linda in California said...

I love research so much that I became a librarian. What could be better - surrounded by thousands upon thousands of books and the ability to research ANYTHING! As a writer, though, I can get lost in the research and never get around to writing the story - it is the perfect procrastination for me. I once spent days reading about the beginnings of the Transcontinental Railroad and then wrote just one chapter - the railroad wasn't even in the first chapter...but what fun I had!

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I find that research sometimes leads to ideas for future books or I sometimes find a factoid that makes a nice twist to a plot. And, yes, I, too, enjoy the research part a little too much at times. One of the most unusual books I've purchased in the pursuit of research was the Yachtsman's Guide to the Virgin Islands. What are some of the more unusual books the rest of you have added to your libraries?

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Some books I have in my library: Back in the Day, 101 things everyone used to know how to do (Micheal Powell), Shakespeare and the Art of Verbal Seduction (Hill and Ottchen), and Pride and Prejudice paper dolls.

I also have around 25 books on Egypt and Africa, because I will someday finish a wip set there, and just because I love the subject.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

I adore research--too much. I suspect I write contemporary stories because if I tried to write an historical I'd disappear into the research and never finish the book.

Research is my partner. I think of a premise, and the research helps flesh out the rest. So often I've stumbled across an odd bit that's provided an entire scene or motivation or subplot...which helps drive the story forward into new territory...which requires more research...

It's amazingly symbiotic.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Chicki said...

Sometimes I have stop myself from doing research, because I can get lost in it! Google is my best BCF (Best Cyber Friend) and runs a close second.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

I loooove the Google. I have a way with the Google.

Google: Source of all google and light.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Virginia said...

I love to do research on the internet. I find it very interesting.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger doglady said...

If not for the DDJ I would spend ALL of my time doing research. Like my buddy Gillian sometimes my methods are hit or miss when I realize I have reached a glitch in my manuscript. In the last year I have started assembling a Regency research library. Any time I catch a blog where a historical author is being interviewed I always ask about her resources. It is a great way to build a list of books to buy. I have a card catalogue of books I want for my research and any time I get the chance I buy one. I used the Amazon gift card I won from the lovely Anna Campbell to buy Steven Parissien's REGENCY STYLE. GORGEOUS book! I can't wait for this month's topic!

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lvoe the internet reasercing books fun.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Doglady: What a great idea, and a great resource you're building! Once you're published, a bibliography like that could really draw traffic to your site. (All I think about is promotion right now, I swear. It's so sad.)

At 10:59 PM, Blogger doglady said...

But hey, Esri, that is a great idea! I could put my whole card catalogue on my website! Thank you! I have one entire box of cards so far and they cover all sorts of unique Regency areas like Bachus societies, sex clubs, maps, travel guides written during the Regency, Regency cooking. Garden design.

I love the idea of putting it on my website! Brilliant, Esri!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Gillian, I feel your pain. I think we are so overwhelmed with so many resources that it's difficult to know where to start (or stop!), although some of us (like Terry) do.

So I hope by the end of the month we'll have discovered not only new resources but how to use them efficiently.

And we'll have fun!

At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Lorrie said...

Hi everyone! I'm new here. New to the writing world too. I'm looking forward to learning from all of you. I've got a lot to learn, especially when it comes to research. I get sooo confused and boggled down by it all. I'm not sure what questions to ask or where to look for the info I need. So I plan on being like a sponge this soak up as much as I can about research and how to go about it.


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