Research Makes Strange Bedfellows: An IWSG Post

Hello, fellow writers.

The end of the year is fast approaching. Can’t believe the time is flying. Halloween is over. Now the real holiday season begins. At least from a retailer’s standpoint. And NaNoWriMo is in full effect. Even though I’m not participating this year, I wish everyone the best of luck. Crank out those words, but don’t forget to rest and recharge along the way.

As you recharge, take a moment to read what I and other members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group have to say. Some might share their experiences with NaNo and might encourage you to push through. I know it’s still early. We’re only at the first Wednesday of the month and all. Still, we all need encouragement, whether we’re doing NaNo or not.

Shout out to this month’s co-hosts: Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie. Want to read up and know more about these fine authors? Check out the links provided.

So this month, I’m taking on the optional question:

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?

I’ve heard some authors research some rather “interesting” things. I haven’t done much research myself. However, in writing short stories, a little more research wouldn’t hurt.

In writing stories outside of Contemporary Fiction, I’ve done my fair share of googling. I would say the strangest thing I’ve ever googled is African names. A couple of years ago, I tried writing a sci-fi short story. The world it was set in, I wanted an African vibe. From the trees to the villages. So for the royal court in this story, I wanted some unique names. So I looked up fantasy names at first. Nothing struck my interest. So I decided to go a different route. Look up names based on different nations. Automatically, I thought African names. It was a wide net to cast, obviously. I got more specific; researched names based on country. I found some good ones. Names that screamed strength and power, elegance and grace. It took some time, but it was worth it.

My one regret was that I didn’t finish the story. In hindsight, I should have done more research on African customs and cross-referenced it with the royal court. I should have studied negotiations and the different ways it could go depending on how cooperative the parties are. That way, it would make the interactions between the main characters more plausible. Perhaps, I may come back to that story. This time, more armed with research. Not info-dumping, but to show I have an idea on how these things work.

Since I write short stories, I don’t really have a grasp on research. However, with certain stories, it becomes an intricate part of the process. I mean, I use Pinterest for research when I’m looking up prompts and pics. Googling subjects is no different. So I think I will start researching more. Couldn’t hurt, right?

What about you? What’s the strangest you’ve ever googled for research? Let me know in the comments.

Until then, if I don’t hear from you guys until next month, Happy Thanksgiving!

11 thoughts on “Research Makes Strange Bedfellows: An IWSG Post

  1. I think you should finish that story! It sounds really interesting. My current WIP is partially set in Mali, so I too, researched Malian names. They are beautiful and there were so many to chose from! Good luck and please rethink getting back to that story!

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  2. I hope you get a chance to finish that story someday. I wold love to read it!
    And, yes, we all could do a little more research. I’ve been doing some on knife-fighting and throwing for my current WIP because I’m not sure I really know enough – even if I am writing a far-fetched fantasy about a woman dragon slayer killing off huge dragons with distance weapons and knives. (Instead of swords, which have always seemed way too close for comfort to me, in any sort of old-fashioned dragon story.)

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  3. Go ahead and finish it, but if you don’t, tuck it away for future reference. Trust me. Whatever you’ve written might serve you in the future.

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  4. I think you should definitely go back and finish the story. I think research could be super helpful in short stories because you have less words to use to convey your story to the reader. Just like finding the perfect names that equate to strength and elegance- you were building characters profiles with their name choice. That’s pretty genius!

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