Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tiny dogs, pot pipes, and body art

...Otherwise known as "research." While the books I write aren't research intensive like historical fiction, I still like to get things right. Sometimes the research is dry, like reading all I can about the California gubernatorial election process. A bit of a yawn, but necessary.

Other times, it's much more fun. A quick glance at my laptop's history folder would reveal some interesting searches:

--Sailing / pirate terminology (Arr!)

--What breed of dog might fit inside a trench coat pocket?

--Jim Jones/ Kool-Aid/ Hale-Bopp comet cult

--Narcissistic personality, symptoms of. (No, not me.)

--Tattoo parlors in Venice, CA. (There are lots.)

--Is it possible to make a bong out of a kazoo? (Answer: yes, and this young man will demonstrate.)

Ah, I love the internet.

Have you run across any weird facts while researching a project?

17 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

No one can tell you you aren't well-learned!

More than anything, I look up words. I need to get a feel for the meaning, or find a synomym.

I've looked up kinds of houses, boats, cancer, bookstore names. On my list for down the road is the psychological causes of hoarding. It'll be fascinating, I think.

Janna Qualman said...

*synonym

I have got to slow down.

WendyCinNYC said...

Ooh, hoarding. You should read HOMER & LANGLEY by E.L. Doctorow if you are looking for a (only kinda researchy) story centered on that.

moonrat said...

this made me laugh really hard.

Amy said...

Hah, Wendy, great post!

I mostly look up words too, but my search history during the writing of WEAVE was pretty weird looking. A few examples:

floaters/drowning victims

ketamine vs. thorazine: effects

bando belts

mythical creatures - water

Santa Fe street map

abandonment complex

Jon VanZile said...

Ha ha! I live in FEAR of some Internet agency compiling all my searches and wondering what kind of weird fetishist/ultra nerd looks at these things—

-- the epidemic of prison rape

-- time travel theory

-- West Coast Japanese red light districts at the turn of the century

-- burlesque

-- top secret nuclear-powered rock-melting drills tested to create underground cities in case of nuclear attack (this is real ...)

-- pain tolerance variance

-- animal cruelty statutes

But really, I'm not a nut. I'm just a writer.

Tawna Fenske said...

Fun blog post!

My current manuscript has had me doing a lot of research on the types of noises alpacas make (tooting, chirping, etc.) and proper techniques for spitting wine.

Tawna

WendyCinNYC said...

moonrat--I live to make you laugh. :D

Amy--Interesting! Thanks for the reply.

Jon--Your 5th one down scares me.

Tawna--Tooting alpacas! Love it.

Allie said...

I run across tons of weird facts while researching - unfortunately, many of them aren't actually relevant to what I'm supposed to be researching. I have a research addiction. I can go from one keyword to the next for hours on end. . .

Jaleh D said...

I have that same problem Allie does. It's so easy to go speeding down a tangent.

WendyCinNYC said...

Allie and Jaleh--I have a similar affliction. I think it's called "procrastination."

Anonymous said...

I asked my law enforcement hubby, "What's the difference between rape and sexual assault? Would you show me the secion in the Alabama Code of Law?" His reaction: "What in the world are you writing?" Understandable since I usually write for children.

Other than that...

There were no church bells to be heard in 1892 Huntsville since they'd not been replaced since the Civil War when they were taken down and melted into cannon balls.

And more people believe in reincarnation than I first thought.

Now I need to research German rocket scientists from the 1950's. Fun!

WandaV

WendyCinNYC said...

WandaV--Interesting! Love the church bell fact.

Oh yeah, and I've also researched the KKK, for a project that hasn't gone anywhere yet. That took me to some, ahem, interesting sites. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

A handy thing to look at for research: nanowrimo.org. They have a forum where people ask all kinds of questions and get lots of answers. I enjoy looking at what other people are researching for their WIPs.

And about those rocket scientists: I'm going to try and line up an interview or two with some of the folks that came over with the team. Interviews are one of my fave ways to research. Keeping my fingers crossed...

WandaV

joven said...
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joven said...
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WendyCinNYC said...

WandaV--Good luck!