Research – probably the only thing more distracting than the general internet for authors. Why? Because most authors I know love to learn, and research is self-guided learning. The only other thing more distracting is social media (currently included in the “general internet”), and we all know that we probably have a problem with being distracted with social media. Find a seat and kick back with a notepad, MLHGL is here to talk research!
So, if you’re here before November 1st, you’re probably doing a great deal of planning in advance of NaNoWriMo (and are probably a planner, which MLHGL is not). You’re doing research. You’re getting your information together so that you don’t get things too terribly unbelievable in the first draft. Though, I will admit, once I’ve written a couple thousand words, I have enough of an idea about my plot to know a few points I should research and that’s always a good thing.
If it’s during November when you’ve come to visit this page, well, you’re probably wanting to make sure that you either do or do not need to do some research. If you’re asking that question, then yes, you probably do need to do the research.
Reasons why research is a good idea:
- Knowing what kind of weapons your characters might use!
- What kind of food is realistic?
- How long, on horseback, from point a to point b?
- What colors of clothing they might wear?
- Were there windows in the castle, or arrow slits?
- Would XYZ type of lifeform be able to easily survive in ABC sort of climate?
- What star system is closest to earth’s?
- Is there a Walgreens or Starbucks on that corner?
- Is the coffee shop crowded or deserted at 2 in the afternoon?
- How large is the fallout zone of a nuclear blast?
- Pants, skirts or kilts?
There are many, many things that just a little bit of research can help you with that would make your story that much more realistic.
Some of these questions can be answered by books, some by the internet, and sometimes you need to just ask your crowd of fellow Wrimos if anyone might know the answer to that question. Google StreetView is an amazing tool too.
ML_HGL will be offering easy access to a book called “How to Find Out Anything” any time she’s around – which can help you figure out how to word your search terms for maximum results.
I’m going to point out something here though: If you aren’t in a position to give to National Novel Writing Month, and would like to know of a way to donate anyways, use GoodSearch – register for an account with them or use your facebook account to log in and choose NaNoWriMo as the cause you’d like to donate to. Each year, NaNoWriMo receives between $2,000 and $6,000 as a result of GoodSearch’s offers and from those wrimos who use the service. GoodSearch gives a penny for every search done with their service, it adds up.
Generally, during NaNoWriMo itself – I will usually use GoodSearch myself for everything. (ML_HGL)