Researchy* researchy goodness

Wow, this month ran away with me. Why? Well a number of reasons. Life, of course, and a bit of a whirl on ideas, research, rewrites etc.

The research bit is what I’m thinking most of today. As a writer I’m continually researching. I want to know how everything happened (luckily I married anĀ  engineer who wants to know how everything works). I want to know about the people involved and the events which shaped history. I got a fantastic interactive DVD on Dublin from Viking to Tudor times yesterday from the fab Dublin City Radio. Once I can wrestle it back from my children I’ll spend hours playing with it.

Once I can wrestle it back from my children.

Research means always asking questions, about squirrelling away bits of information to be used later, about following up on things. Anything can be useful information. Especially when writing fantasy. Books of course, but also documentaries, exhibitions, lectures, holidays and day trips.

And they don’t have to be boring.

Using that information, that’s another thing. I like to cherry pick – find the bits that fit in my story and leave the rest. And only use the bits relevant to the story, otherwise you put in too much and that way the dreaded infodump lies. No one wants to read a story where the author is just showing off what they learned. (So unfair! We learn SO many cool things).

*Plotbunny warning* Did you know that Papyrus was recently discovered in an 8th century book buried in an Irish bog near Birr? I wonder how that got there? There’s a documentary about it which is fascinating.

So, look for your research materials wherever you go. Keep a notebook perhaps (I have a lovely purple one) and don’t be embarassed to start making notes – you never know, that alone can spark some interesting conversations.

*Is too a word….

… now