Saturday, September 20, 2014

Journey to the Center of the Earth

This the second in my How, How, How, Where series. Today's post is about research. Yay!

As you will no doubt come to realize, I love to research. Everything. Seriously. I have so much useless information crammed in my brain, I can't even start to catalog it. Having said that, conversations with me are usually long and meandering. I like to go off on tangents whenever I'm reminded of something I've read. As my grade school teachers would say, "She likes to talk." 

But their version was much longer. Tedious. Very tedious.  

Anyway, here is a basic break down of how I roll. Research-wise, that is.

How I Research

Where do I start with my research?

With the story. I take the bare bones of the story and poke at it until I figure out where the gaps in information lie. Then, I go and look for more details.

For "The Catalyst", I had to do research into biotech, archaeology, and biology. It was really fun. With my writing, I like to put a decent bit of science with my fiction. I also blend from a variety of sources. I remember doing a few days of research into future technology a little while ago. It was fascinating, to say the least. Anything I don't use in one story, will eventually pop up in another one later.

Do I travel to the locations in my books?

Yes and no. I usually use places I have been for inspiration, but I don't actually use the places in their entirety. Just bits and pieces.

For example: The layout of Ameritat, the city in "No Light", is loosely based on Clinton, Missouri.

The stairwell into the earth is based on a tour I went on to Bonne Terre Mine. Yes. That stairwell from "No Light" exists. The horror. Most of the mine is underwater, and you can take a boat ride through the massive underground cavern. The water is extremely clear, so three hundred feet looks like ten. Very cool. Or nightmare inducing. Depends on your opinion of deep water.

Have I ever worked at the jobs any of my characters have, or have I shadowed people in those jobs?

Not Sarah, that's for sure. But seriously, I did do a bit of research into prisons. Both modern and historical. I wanted an idea of what a day in prison would look like. I interviewed several people who had been to prison, watched documentaries, and spent a few weeks at the library. Not to mention the amount of Googling I did.

What are the fun parts of research vs. the tedious parts?

It's all fun to some degree. I like science, especially biology, so researching the science-y bits is interesting and I get to wander into all sorts of things I would not have discovered otherwise. I get to do a lot of research into body armor, weapons, predators, psychology, attraction, love, romance, etc. All sorts of things.

I really can't think of anything I've ever had to research that was boring. I have a harder time trying to figure out how to blog or update my website. Sad, but true. 

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