One of my very favorite things about being a writer is the simple fact that it gives me the excuse to research the most...unusual things. I mean, come on...if someone sees me reading a book on medieval torture devices, I have an out-- "Oh, I'm just researching some of the horrendous methods used during the Spanish Inquisition for a book I'm writing. How utterly barbaric they were back in those days; I'm sure glad we've evolved into a more civilized species."
Or maybe that one time, when my boyfriend got a little too nosy and took a little peek at my browser history? "Oh honey...don't worry, I can explain my interest in demonic possessions, exorcisms, and creepy pagan rituals. I swear its just research for my next book."
I thought it would be fun to do a post on some of the research topics I've used in the past few years. Some of them are somewhat normal, while others...well, they are subjects that only a writer might understand. Actually, maybe this should be a writer only post, because otherwise, someone might try to have me committed to a white-padded-wall institution...
So, like I said before, I'm going to list a few of my most recent, Google-powered searches.
- YouTube video search of "big cats". Yes, that's right-- Big Cats. My current work in progress has three paranormal night races, demons, vampires, and shapeshifters. I wanted to see video of a lion/leopard/cheetah (you name the kitty) running/pouncing/stalking so I could accurately describe it in my book when my shifters transform into--you got it--Big Cats. And thanks to the BBC and their excellent wildlife footage, I can.
- Infomercials. Uh huh...infomercials. I was writing a scene and one of the characters started to make the point that someone's idea was as stupid and pointless as __________---and I needed an infomercial to fill in the blank. So I did a quick search; this is the best one by far....
- High-end, designer clothing and evening dresses.
- Gunshot wounds--where to aim to maim, not kill. What can I say, there's a war going on in my books--I want it to be realistic.
- Military helicopters. I needed a helicopter in my book and I needed to know which one to use...
- The weight of the KA-BAR survival knife and the different holsters one can use it with.
- I received a package in the mail a few months back. Inside, were two books I purchased for research purposes. However, when my family saw what was inside the package...lets just say I had to remind them that I write murder scenes.
Of all the things I've looked into, one of the best research topics I read was on Multiple Personality Disorders. The book, Switching Time by Dr. Richard Baer, is the story of a woman, Karen, and her seventeen different personalities. I won't go into the details, but I was truly amazed by this story and the depth of this illness. I was absolutely spellbound by Karen and her alters, all whom had their very own names, personalities, and purposes.
I'd actually been looking down the psychology aisle at Borders when I came across the book, took a peak inside...and couldn't put it down. I couldn't imagine anyone questioning my choice of reading material...until of course I brought it home and my family looked at me like I'd grown four extra heads. Why in the name of God would I want to read such a thing? The girl had obviously been abused and now suffered from a psychological illness; it was a tragedy, not entertainment, and certainly not research for a paranormal romance!
And the really sad part was, I could actually see their points. This was a tragedy, and I was a little too enthralled by the whole concept of it. Of course my family (who happen to think my interest in all things "different" to be...well, different) got me thinking.What kind of a lech am I that I can sit down for four straight hours and read through page after page of trauma and illness and hopelessness? Obviously a very sick kind of lech...
...or a writer. Ah ha!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, I have an excuse for my
So--what have you researched lately?
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