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  • Writer's picturecorajanzenwrites

Gettin' down with research

One of the questions someone asked me about my writing journey is how do I do my research?

My primary go-to is probably no big surprise, and one you already guessed. You are right. I "google that shit". I started getting some pretty weird ads popping up and then I discovered <insert duh, a-ha moment> how to search incognito. Now I am confident that I shouldn’t be flagged for investigation for looking into stuff like various weapons, explosion radius, etc. I am pretty sure, “I am writing a book” wouldn’t hold out as a defense. But just in case, I got my lawyer buddy JB on speed dial.

During one of my many searches, I was struck by how hard authors would have had it prior to this era. Now all you have to do is type in the search without leaving wherever you are, and the source options pop up, you can electronically scan large amounts of text for key words and voila. This task, instead of being pretty big, would have felt enormous. So thank you to whoever invented the internet and google.

Besides using google and taking the lazy way for research, I do lots of reading. And not only novels of genres that I love. Everyday I am searching and expanding my knowledge base on the how to’s of writing a novel, how to weave in a character’s “hero’s journey” into the plot, to fact find about settings, and things I need to investigate as they pertain to my plot.

I also weave in a lot of my own daily experiences from different settings I am in, things that happen to me or that I observe, quirks of my own or others, as well as places I’ve been. A few of the places that I have traveled to have actually started to pop up in my writing – Lisbon, Panama, Hawaii. It is easy to write about places I’ve been and incorporate my own experiences. But it is also a way to relive those trips and keep the memories vivid, so it is a double-whammy-bonus.

One last way that I will mention today is I chat and ask questions of those around me. For example, my husband is my key go-to when it comes to automobiles and then, take for instance, my friend who is an ER nurse. In this particular instance, and in my defense, I wanted to double check that what I thinking was right. And to do this really quickly. You know, I was in the zone, I was on a roll and I didn’t want to break my mojo, so I fired off a quick text.

Me: “SUPER weird question: what normally happens to blood pressure and heart rate when a person is shot, say, under the clavicle?”

RM: “Umm…who got shot?!...I was hesitant to text back! I was afraid of the answer you were going to give.”

My big take-away lesson: give WAY more pretense and context before asking a question like that.

Thanks for tuning in!

P.S. Aren't following my journey yet, but want to? This link is for you

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