So in line with my inspiration post the other day I wanted to talk about how I research a storyline, concepts and eventually begin to worldbuild. As you can probably guess, my first recommendation for research sparks is Pinterest. Now hold on.. before you judge me for my obsession with pinning pictures I like onto virtual corkboards.. hear me out. When it comes to research lines, there are few things that are better, especially if your genre is mythical or fantastic. People who are far better at it than I, have collected and collated articles, pictures, fanart, lore, along with a whole host of other fascinating things and each time you click on a pin… if you scroll down there are MORE like it! Meaning if you really want to head down the rabbit hole you can go from hmm so caving systems in the ancient world to esoteric meanings behind symbols to runes to the moon cycles real quick… It is fascinating where a good hour will take you on Pinterest.
But it also means that with minimal effort, you can find what you are looking for very quickly. For example, I was researching PTSD and its effects on the human mind recently because I’m a heartless b*tch and I found a brilliant article giving examples on how to write PTSD. Perfect for what I needed. (though for that scene I was more confirming that I wrote appropriately.. and it confirmed, helped and gave me more ideas for future scenes.)
That leads me into my next source for research which is other people’s blogs. Like myself, there are many peeps out there who blog (or attempt to) and they often have some brilliant articles on a host of topics. Many of which will tell you all you need to know with one or two clicks and can be found with a few words typed into Aunty Google. If I need to quickly look up something without disrupting my writing flow toooooo much I’ll do a quick search, confirm what I need to know and then get back to it… most of the time. Sometimes I get washed away in the thrill of learning something new and four hours later my drink bottle is empty, bladder bursting, and I haven’t written a single world… But I have an excellent understanding on avian (the urge to capitalise that word was so strong there it literally took me three attempts to write it properly….) flight and how different birds wings are shapes, how they fly, how their anatomy differs from mammals and what each feather does… Yup… this was a real story. (TMI? sorry not sorry).
It goes without saying that for research Google should be your first port of call with is excellent, unparalleled search power… I’m thinking outside the box here!
It may also surprise you, but other people’s writing is an excellent research tool. Not that you are taking their ideas or words. NEVER PLAGERISE… IT’S BAD. It’s not about sounding like them, it’s about sounding like yourself, with an understanding of how they sound like them =) Reading, at least for me, helps to solidify my own ideas and helps me to see what I want from a particular creature/place/scene and how to get it. It also shows me what I don’t want. I write about dragons in my Dragoness series (duh, right?) and for that, I based my dragons on the European style dragon… Four legs, big wings, often possessing talons and horns. But I also have added my own flare to the concept (you’ll have to read to find out :P). There are plenty of authors who have written about dragons, but each of them has a different take on it.. even if that different is slight. Some can talk, some can’t. Some are beasts, some aren’t. It’s writer’s choice. It’s the same with researching through reading, you’ll soon learn what you like and don’t like. That will translate into your writing… it’s not just an excuse to read as many books as you can get your hands on… I swear…
To summarise! (yes emphasis is necessary. Feels like I’ve been writing this for a while now…) Go on Pinterest. Go on Google! Go read! Go figure out why your guns sound like chickens, and why the sky is green and grass is red. Go and see why everyone bleeds rainbows and talk backwards. Take notes and find a cat to help you. Most importantly, dive down that rabbit hole and don’t look back. You might be surprised at what you find…