Friday, June 1, 2012

When researching is fun...

I love being a writer. The research behind the stories we write and construct is half the fun. Want tips on making research a little more fun when it seems it was more than work than expected?
1. GOOGLE – Informative and goofy. Learn multiple things in a hurry! This tool allows you several options in under five seconds (unless your phone is slow). I often make my way to You Tube to find a nerdy guy to explain more of the daunting stuff.
Fact: Recently researched about the holocaust. I have to thank Google for without them I wouldn’t have found the quirky man to tell the tale.

2. COFFEE SHOP – When I want to learn about human behavior I’ll go to a coffee shop. You learn mannerisms much quicker when they don’t know you’re watching. Go during a peek hour and find a spot in the corner and just watch (don’t be a stalker about it, though). You’ll be surprised by what you pick up.
3. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE – Baseball games, museums, water parks or amusement parks. Take a day for yourself. Get out of your head. Removing yourself from your usual routine allows your mind to work in another area. Often times my ideas start to form when I have a day to trying something new or unusual… never be common. We as writers were meant to be unique. Let that freak flag fly.

4. GET ADDICTED – Hobbies are great. Don’t let them become distracting but take a day to watch a favorite season or dive into a book that pertains to what you need to learn. When your imagination is at an all-time high the juices flow and you’re able to soak up more knowledge when the time comes around.
5. PICK BRAINS AND TEACH OTHERS – To make the knowledge stick talk to others about it. Spouses, family members, and children (unless it’s about serial killers…). The more you share what you’ve learned you’re more likely to keep hitting the books and becoming in tune with what your character would have taken the time to learn.

What do you do to make research fun?

17 comments:

Jen Chandler said...

Hi Jen! I've been a bit AWOL for a while. It's good to be back! I do hope things are wonderful in your part of the blog-world :)

I LOVE research! In fact, I'm addicted to it. It is one of my hobbies. I have to reign in the research in order to actually get any writing done! One of my favorite ways to research is going to my local library and just wandering through the stacks. Something always jumps out at me. The nonfiction section is a treasure trove of ideas just waiting to shake loose in a writers mind!

Happy Friday!
Jen C.

Liesel K Hill said...

Great post and great research tips! Thanks for sharing. When I research, I just love to lose myself in books. I find what I can online and gather dozens of sources around me, and then just go for it. My problem is that I get impatient. Once the creative juices start to solidify, I just can't wait to start writing and I have to force myself to finish the research so that I know what I'm talking about. Isn't being an obsessive story-writer great? :D

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm all for picking picking brains! (As opposed to eating them of course.) And sporting events are great places to people-watch and learn.

Meredith said...

I love these tips! Especially the coffee house one. I saw a really awkward first date at a coffee house a couple of days ago. You know, one of those where they're both talking really fast and really animatedly to cover the awkwardness? It was adorable. :)

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I love research! For Silo, I remember holding and loading a lot of guns to memorize the sounds, smells, weight, etc. Strange, but oddly fascinating:)

Laura Marcella said...

I love research! Though sometimes I get waaay off topic...but often that can spark an idea for something else, so it's all good!!

Carolyn V said...

I love those ideas! I've been working on researching dogs. I don't know as much about them as I thought. lol.

Angela Brown said...

So many wonderful things can be done in the name of research. Need to understand guns a little better? Target practice! Need to understand the after-effects of front line combat, a soldier open to sharing would be a great source. I've got a brief scene involving a taror reading. I'm doing a little research on that now. Contemplating getting one done myself :-)

Genissa said...

Great suggestions. Research is fun and important. Since I write fantasy, I tend to get too caught up in the google part and forget about the rest. But balance is important.

Bee Zors said...

The coffee shop one is a great idea, I had to do something similiar for a class last semester. You pick up on a lot when people don't know you're paying attention.
For me, I usually just use Google for research. How boring of me.

Sherry Ellis said...

I write about different countries, so I travel. That's serious fun!

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Riding the subway and visiting the deviantART site for inspiration are 2 favourites of mine.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Good advise, Jen! Especially the one about having a day out! Too tempting for me... Great post!

Clare C. Greenstreet said...

I do love doing research. I love learning so many new things.

Candilynn Fite said...

Research for a new story is my favorite part. :))

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, research and fun do not go together in the same sentence! Ha. That said, I do get some of my best ideas simply from living my life.

Leslie Rose said...

I like to peruse YouTube for research. It's often more entertaining that informative, but that's the fun of it.