World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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All Things Writing & Publishing > Where do you do your research?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments It feels writing of a book doesn't take as long as it took before. Usually months, not years.
If comparing to previous centuries writers, I'm not sure typing made the difference. Maybe those who type professionally do it much faster than they actually write. Regarding myself - I don't know, but I can hardly imagine writing by hand 60K and more words.
I think one of the major reasons for the speedier performance and wider accessibility is internet. There are probably authors who write solely from their head, but I guess maybe 90% do some research. Nowadays no need to go to the library or look for a rare data. Everything's on the internet. True, info is not always precise, but you can learn anything from the Web, be it an exotic country like Tuvalu, or nature phenomenon like Aurora Borealis or Higgs boson.
Isaac Asimov has written over 500 books, Jules Verne - over 50 (data from the internet -:)). I can only imagine how many books would they have written, if they had internet for research.
What about you, do you ever leave your chair to do some research for a book or do you task your google, baidu, rambler or other search engine for this purpose?


message 2: by Kat (new)

Kat I do a LOT of research on the internet.

Even for locations - Google streetview so often saves me having to go anywhere and taking photos for reference. I admit, I have done this even for a city where I have a public transport pass and could have easily gone myself at no additional cost if I had invested one saturday afternoon.

I also have a stack of reference books on mythology and related things for writing fairytales (the "Big Book of 5000 Magical Spells" does come in handy!)

Since I write fantastical stories, I have the freedom of being able to make up whatever I need, and am not beholden to the need for accuracy.


message 3: by Tyler (new)

Tyler Harris (tylersharris) | 10 comments I watched an entire season of Ancient Aliens just to make references to ancient astronaut theories in my first book. History Channel (or in my case... Netflix) can be a good resource as well.

I'm still waiting to get to the point where I can write off traveling costs on my taxes if I write a book about it. Don't know if that's still a thing, but if it is it's a life goal of mine.


message 4: by Alex (last edited Jun 09, 2016 11:11AM) (new)

Alex (asato) for the short that i'm driving to write for the people of color fantasy special issue of lightspeed magazine, i'm reading:

The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore
The Grand Design
Folk Legends of Japan
The Buddhist Concept Of Hell (i bought this one--it's difficult to find accurate info about this subject)
and a few other books on buddhism

i've checked all of these out of the library and interlibrary loan.

i have a few ideas floating around. the MC will be an asian american male scientist--my characters are almost always solely asian--who meets a tengu from another multiverse. not sure what his motivation will be. maybe he's despondent over the death of his wife years ago and he's willing to make a deal w/the tengu to meet her again. the multiverse would be a kind of hell. his travel to the multiverse would parallel Izanagi's attempt to retrieve his love, Izanami, from the underworld. hmm... that might be too grand.

(i'm driving to finish it by the end of this weekend. it's due on 15 June--i actually took today and tomorrow off of work to write it--plus my daughter is on summer break now.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I would love to read this! My (amazing) stepsons are Japanese. Keep me posted: tarawoodsturner@yahoo.com


message 6: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Tara wrote: "I would love to read this! My (amazing) stepsons are Japanese. Keep me posted: tarawoodsturner@yahoo.com"

thx! will do.


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Alex G wrote: "for the short that i'm driving to write for the people of color fantasy special issue of lightspeed magazine, i'm reading:

[book:The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore|219213..."


Good luck with a short, Alex! Hope yours makes it into the special issue
Interesting ... didn't know Buddhism had a concept of hell


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Tyler wrote: "I'm still waiting to get to the point where I can write off traveling costs on my taxes if I write a book about it. Don't know if that's still a thing, but if it is it's a life goal of mine..."
Hope it works out for you, Tyler, especially if it's a life goal. Thor Heyerdahl's example is quite an inspiration


message 9: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Alex G wrote: "for the short that i'm driving to write for the people of color fantasy special issue of lightspeed magazine, i'm reading:

[book:The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore|219213..."


I would like to read this too! Will you post it on Twitter?


message 10: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "Alex G wrote: "for the short that i'm driving to write for the people of color fantasy special issue of lightspeed magazine, i'm reading:

[book:The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese ..."


i'd make an announcement on twitter if it was accepted (i think that's what you meant, right?)


message 11: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Yes, that, and also if you are publishing it on a web site or elsewhere, that too. Thanks!


message 12: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "Yes, that, and also if you are publishing it on a web site or elsewhere, that too. Thanks!"

will do


message 13: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 685 comments I'm probably old school but I do the majority of my research by reading books - a lot of those borrowed from the local library. I do use the internet but I find that with all the information online that is, to be polite, blatantly false, it takes much longer to cross reference it for validity than just reading a good old fashioned book.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments And how about you?


message 15: by M.L. (new)

M.L. A combination, books, periodicals, magazines, and internet. It really depends what I'm writing. For example, for a recent foray into the 13th century (still there by the way for that series), I researched armor to find out when exactly did knights have visors on their helmets (in order to raise one!), and then adjusted the scene accordingly!

For writing something in current times, it may be more in the way of distances, chronology, streets, things like that.


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9250 comments I do most of my research on the internet, but there is a problem. Putting on my scientific hat for a moment, just about all scientific papers after about 1995 are on the web, but very few before that are. Now, in general we don't have to worry about wrong facts in scientific journals (but you DO have to worry about interpretations of them, as can be seen from the range of scientific arguments that turn up in conferences) but what about what isn't there? For example, in biogenesis one of the most important tissues is how were phosphate esters made to start with. (Now it is through enzymes, but that is so improbable it could not have been the start.) There are two methods that in my opinion were what happened, but they were published in 1929, and somewhere about 1960, and they do not turn up in a computer search.

Another problem with the web is trying to find something odd. The Google search engine is not as good as some think. Sure, it comes out with a lot of results, and maybe what you want is there, but who has the time to go through millions of results? It claims to have options with Boolean logic, but my experience has been mixed with this. Sometimes it works well, but only too often there is either a lot of dross, or not much but what you want isn't there.

For writing novels set on earth, my biggest friend is Google earth. Surprising what you can get from it.


message 17: by Rita (new)

Rita Chapman | 152 comments Google is just amazing, not only for general research but to be able to access specific websites (such as cruise ship itineraries for my latest book). I hadn't thought of using streetview though - thanks for the tip!


message 18: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments I do my research on the internet. Much of it through Wikipedia, google maps. Sometime I'll catch a documentary on TV. In this day and age, everything is on the internet. My son said, when we visited them this last Christmas, people were helpless without iPads, iPhones, and the internet before they came along. You couldn't prove your point.


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