Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where I Geek Out And Declare My Love For Research (Writerly Wednesday post)

Confession time: I love to do research. I love to surf the web--or even better: check out a big stack of books at the library. There's just nothing better. I'm geeky that way.

For Double Vision, I must've read a dozen books on Leonardo da Vinci. I combed travel guides on Paris, learned about its awesome catacombs. I dove into the fascinating history of codes and ciphers.

So you'd think the book is full of facts and history, right? Not really. I think that out of all that research, maybe one percent makes it into the book.

I could save myself a lot of time by just looking for what I need and getting back to writing. Maybe research is just avoidance, hmmm...

How 'bout you, writer friends? Do you like research, and where do you go to get your data?

I talk some more about research at Sleuths, Spies and Alibis.


  1. I had a psychic tell me that in a past life I was a researcher. I laughed, because I can really get lost in research.

    Want to set a book during Prohibition? Record the Ken Burns documentary, buy every book you can find on the subject, then look stuff up on the Internet about the area the book is set in.

    Have just a glimmer of a maybe idea that has something to do with Shakespeare? Go the used book store (handily located across the street from work) and find a dozen books on the man, dig out the collected works book in the basement, find scholarly writings about those works, look to see if the notes from that high school Shakespeare class are still around.

    Yeah, I like research. I can also go off on tangents during the writing if I have a question about something. I've learned to put [look up whatever] and keep going. Otherwise, I'll spend two hours looking up stuff after I've found the original answer.

  2. I'm the same way--I'll put in a big X if I need to look stuff up. It takes such focus not to get lost in the research.

    Funny thing: I'm reading a big name author's earlier book (first edition), and found an out-of-place X he forgot to take out. I guess we're not alone :-)

  3. That's hilarious. How embarrassing, huh?

  4. All the time. I spend hours hunting around.

  5. It's fun to be curious, isn't it?