Research and the Muse


Do you research? What information catches your eye? Have you ever wondered what a writer researches and why?

When I’m not writing, I’m researching. I think I’d be in the field of research if I wasn’t a full-time writer. I love to research information for my stories. And let’s face it, in order for the story to feel real to the reader (say the last 5 words 5 times really fast) a writer must research.

Even if you’re creating a whole new world for the reader to explore and for a time reside in, you still need to research the elements that you’re putting in that world.

I know I’ve already stated the fact but – I love to research. Pre-internet (yes I’ve been writing that long) I went to the library and would get lost for hours in the stacks of reference books. When I was younger I was always (I still am) fascinated with supernatural creatures, mythology, nature and sharks (my favorite is the Whale Shark).

I’d write paragraphs in my notebooks, use my leftover lunch money to make copies, and generally stay for hours soaking up as much information as my mind could take in a single day. Then I’d get on my bike and ride home. We only lived a few miles from the library and I’d go at least three – four times a week.

The library was my Sanctuary of Knowledge.

Now –

I usually connect to the internet and browse hundreds of sites in a day, week, month, etc… Until I’ve found everything I need. I wind up with much more information actually, because I’m always clicking on something else that catches my eye and writer’s brain. I swear I think my muse loves to research as much as I do.

The internet is a great place to find useful information. Though I know you have to research the sites you get said info from. Not all is kosher on the Net.

In the course of the many hours of research I, inevitably, find more story ideas that have not a thing to do with the original research subject. I file that info in a file on my computer now instead of the filing cabinet – “Future things to write about” – and yes it can be taken a couple of different ways.

I still write paragraphs about my subject(s) but, instead of photocopying passages and pages – I bookmark pages. In fact I hit the bookmark button so often that when I come back to something I bookmarked (say a month ago) sometimes I forget why it was bookmarked. Then I start to read and get lost in the space of cyber information.

I still go the library, though not as often and I drive my car now instead of riding a bike. And I file the non-original subject info in a file on my computer now instead of the filing cabinet – “Future things to write about”.  (that title can be taken a couple of different ways- hmm.)

Anyway —

What about you?

I love reading comments from those that read my ramblings. I love even more to discuss your thoughts.

Have a great info filled day!

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2 thoughts on “Research and the Muse

  1. Yup. I keep scraps of ideas in my journals and in my online bookmarks (btw, do you use delicious.com? it’s a GREAT bookmarking tool). But you know what? I think the best ideas stick with me even when I don’t record them somewhere.

    • I have not heard of delicious. com – I’m going to check it out today, thanks. Definitely true about the best ideas, they’ll come round again in my writer’s brain with or without writing them down. And sometimes when I come back to some I’ve written down I think “what was I thinking when I wrote that.” lol.

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