Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Tuesday Tips: Research
1) The Internet: It is easier than ever to do research. Google alone is a gift from the gods. Add Google's image search and Youtube.com and you can find fast details about almost any topic. The Internet is awesome.
2) The Library: You know what libraries have that the Internet doesn't have? Reference Librarians. They love helping people with real questions. It's a break from kicking out hobos that are surfing porn on the computers. They spend all day, every day, in a library and know a little bit about a million things. Treat the with respect, kindness and gratitude and they will enjoy working with you.
3) Subject Matter Experts: The biggest research asset that writers miss are people. Need to know something about anything, there is an expert out there. All I have to say is, "My name is Martin Wilsey. I am writing a book and need information about..." and they will be happy to meet for coffee. Use Google to find their names. Don't be afraid to cold call or or introduce yourself in person. An interview will get you far. It's also big fun.
4) Location Scout: Go to the places that you are writing about. Get people to be your guide. This can be anything from a biker bar to a historic cathedral. If your story has a spooky cemetery, find one and take pictures. Go to hotel lobbies or university campuses or isolated cabins on a lake. Save your receipts, the travel is tax deductible. So is your camera.
NOTE - A caution about research: Not every detail you learn in your research needs to be in your story. Gratuitous info dumps can be a problem. Be careful who you select as your "expert". Many experts are not really that informed. Get lots of input.
One final note: They are called magazines not clips, dammit. Do your research.