Apr 20, 2012

A to Z - Research and Reading


If you want to be a writer, there are two invaluable things you have to do often and well - read and research.  There probably isn't anything I can think of right now that is more essential (besides butt in chair and write) and will show the weaknesses of a writer more. 
The nice thing is the two of them can go together.  
READ - Everything.  All the time.  As much as you can.  If you have a smart phone, download the reading app of choice and when you are standing in line behind the woman who can't seriously need that much toilet paper, instead of playing Angry Birds, read.  Kid is at a music lesson and you are waiting?  Read.  You are in a traffic jam and waiting...um...I guess it would depend on the slowness of the jam.  
Don't have a smart phone?  Take a book with you everywhere.  Granted this is a little easier for women, but guys, be a little innovative :)
RESEARCH - I can't think of a single genre someone can write that doesn't require research. Lately I've been trying to figure out how long after an organ transplant people are taken out of ICU, what the odds are of organ rejection, who gets organs from where... There needs to be research for world building, standards for magical creatures, figuring out your own laws of the land.  
Thankfully we live in the land of the internet, so research is significantly easier than it used to be, which means we need to do it more often and make sure our data is accurate.  
What have you been researching that you didn't think you would need to?  What has surprised you most when reading as you are embarking on the world of writing?





21 comments :

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I make my husband drive everywhere (if he's coming with me) so I can read in the car. Any opportunity I have to read, I take. :D

I love taking online research based courses. Even if it's for a topic I might never need in my YA novels. Right now I'm taking a course on forensic toxicology. It's really interesting.

Cristina said...

I always have a book with me. Always. I even read during the commercials for my favorite shows, LOL the husband thinks I'm nuts ;)

Rusty Webb said...

Couldn't agree more. I try to read as much as I can, out of genre too. My best ideas seem to come when reading non fiction books about some subject I know I knew little about, it's almost like preemptive research.

Rosanna C. Rogacion said...

I love books and I carry one with me when I know I have much waiting time. As for researching, you are right, it is part and parcel of writing. I'm researching on alternative healing now. :-)

Kyra Lennon said...

I have recently started reading instead of playing games, and it makes a lot of difference!

elizabeth seckman said...

Tasha, if you need to talk to a guy who had a transplant, I have a friend I can hook you up with. He had a blog for a while as he was going through the process. I don't know if he still runs the blog, but he is very open to discussing all aspects of the transplant- from the emotional to the medical.

Julie Daines said...

Great post. I have to say that I often get my best ideas from doing research! I'll read something that just triggers a brilliant idea. (Brilliant in my mind at least.) :)

Angela Cothran said...

I don't love research. I'll admit I have shied away from a story idea because of the amount of research I had to do. The last thing I had to research was swearwords in the 14th century...not very fun for me :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm about to embark on a lot of political and war research. Fun!

Arthur Brill said...

Ever since I was a kid, I had a difficult time "looking things up", either in the dictionary or encyclopedia.

Why? Because there was so much other cool stuff to learn!!!!

Before I ever got to the word I wanted, I'd be scanning pages and pages of the dictionary, learning new words.

Now with online searches, it is even more difficult. And this A to Z thing? Hopeless! :)

R is for Role Playing Games at Main Street Arts, where folklore, mythology, and geology are my main areas of research!

http://mainstreetarts.blogspot.com/2012/04/role-playing-games.html

Lynn Proctor said...

i need to start back reading--i go in spells of it--sometimes reading 2 books a day--i don't like to read anything when i am in the middle of a writing project---and i am constantly using spell check--great post

Clarissa Draper said...

Researching? I research everything from clothing to forensic and autopsy procedures. I read everything. When I'm writing a certain genre though, I try to read that genre only.

Brenda Sills said...

Ooh! I love research! What a feast! What a trip to Oz! What a Klondike rush! Oh my—I desperately want to go read something intriguing! G'bye! I'm off!

Catherine Noble said...

I loooove research! And those traffic jams? Audio Books! :D

I do have to reign myself in at times, though, as I tend to go off on a tangent with my research. Research breeds more research for me!

Good luck with the rest of the A-Z :)

Tracy Jo said...

Thank you, Tasha. This is such a good reminder and good ideas on how to use our time. I am researching chakra points in the body. :-)

loverofwords said...

I read everyday, and love to have real books in my library, many I have not read, yet, but I will. Read the Wall Street Journal, especially the Friday and Saturday editions. Right now I am researching the years leading up to the Russian Revolution in connection with the class I am taking. Russia had democracy before 1917, a surprise to many.

Donna K. Weaver said...

That's why I love my iPod and have a membership with Audible.com. I can get so much more "reading" done by listening.

We've got a teen boy in our ward who had a heart transplant about three years ago. I could ask some of those questions if you want. ;)

Leigh Covington said...

Another fabulous post Tasha. You are full of good advice! I love it. I am terrible at doing research, but I love to read. Hopefully, my research talents will start to improve. :)

Andrew Leon said...

I do keep a book with me, like, 90% of the time (the other 10% is when I'm on my bike, and I want to be able to go faster than I can with a book in one hand (or when it's raining)). Yesterday was one of those days where I was -so- glad I do that.

Carrie-Anne said...

I write 20th century historical, so I love researching, even though I've been writing about my chosen decades for quite some time and know them like the back of my hand by this point. There's always a new detail or perspective to discover.

Nicole said...

I always find research intriguing and it's definitely a must while worldbuilding!