We've had people in the chain discuss how much research they do. I'm a person who believes in research. Even though I write in a genre where you can "make everything up," I find putting real-world research and details into the story and setting makes it more multifaceted and realistic. (Sorry, Elana.)
When I started writing the first book in the Season Lords series, Google wasn't around yet. (gasp!) I researched my setting (based on Victorian
These days, of course, I tend to use the Internet for most of my research. I have less time to go to the library and read books, but the Internet is almost always available when I'm writing. I normally start with Google. Sometimes this will lead me to Wikipedia. I don't completely trust Wikipedia, but I haven't found anything blatantly false on there yet. I also look for other sites that might be useful. For instance, in my current project, my characters are taking a train from
Social networks can also help with research. I happened to mention on my Facebook status that I was researching this particular subject, and a friend saw it and sent me an article on the Zephyr (she got it from someone she knew who was interested in trains). This is a great way to solicit help from other people if you're too shy (like me) to approach them directly.
It's interesting that Kat asked us about researching character quirks. I don't think I've consciously researched character traits, unless it's an illness like manic-depression. Character quirks tend to reveal themselves over time as I work with my characters. For instance, Paul's best friend goes by Scott, but that's actually his middle name. His first name is Oliver, after his mother Olivia; Paul started calling him Scott when he was too young to say "Oliver," and it stuck. I've always known that Yvonne likes flowers, but she told me on this draft that she'd rather study botany than psychiatry.
Kat asked us to share interesting tidbits from our research. I've already discussed the trains, so let's see what else I can come up with. For my current project, I've researched theater layouts, poisons, space ships and space elevators, and scene orders in Hamlet.
That's all for now. Come back soon for another Blog Chain topic!