Research: bringing people together with fiction

imageI don’t get out much. That is to say, most of the time I’m plopped in front of my iPad writing or standing in front of a roomful of third graders. So what’s a writer to do who needs to find out about flying a plane or the perils of Guatemala’s Peten Jungle? Yep, it’s time to reach out and touch someone! In the course of my fiction gathering adventures, I’ve been privileged to talk to a pilot (who seemed distressed that I wanted to know about crashing more than flying) and a Guatemalan missionary. I’ve also had the honor to speak with folks who restored an historic paddleboat and people who have done everything from kayaking (which I would never try) to long track speed skating (which I would also never try.)

Do you ever read fiction books which wind up teaching you things? Would love to hear which ones you’ve enjoyed. Giving away an Amazon gift card this month.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Sometimes I have to be careful though or everything becomes research – Bush Gardens, Going to the thrift store, etc. Lots and lots of research without writing about any of it.

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  2. Posted by Suzan Michet on December 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, I have learned things from reading fiction. I agree with Mommy Sommie that the historical angle can be quite interesting, though you have to check what is real or not. The best example of learning I can think of is when I read “The Time Traveller’s Wife” – which is not a book I recommend, but my book club read. The “wife” in the story was an artist, and spoke a lot about making things out of paper, handcrafted. I found it very interesting.
    P.S. Like the new snowflakes on your blog !

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    • Yes, the trick is figuring out what’s fiction and what’s fact! I was too confused with the jumping timelines to follow the Timetraveler’s Wife, but it was an intriguing story, from what I could gather.

      I like the snow on my blog too! Cyber magic!

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  3. I’ve learned pretty much everything I know about weaponry from my DnD player’s handbook, everything I know about travelling in the wilderness from the Sword of Truth series, and everything I know about puns and nudity from the Xanth series 😀

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  4. Just historical fiction. But then I have to research and find out what’s real and what’s fiction. When working on my novel the other day I emailed my nurse friend to ask about what type of arm bone someone would break if they feel off the rocks in Central Park! His response was very interesting 😉

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