1. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Any writing vets with research tips?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by agentkirb, Dec 14, 2011.

    The question is kind of simple. But I hear that something that some writers do to help them flesh out a story idea is that they will research as much as they can on a topic. I'm sure settings of different locations is a major thing, but also like if your story is set in a mining town... I imagine you would want to research on the topic of mining so it would sound like you know what you are talking about. But research on broad subjects like that is something I've never had to do effectively and I'm not sure if those kinds of books would be at a Barnse and Noble. And even if they were I wouldn't know what to look for.

    So if anyone has research tips for that sort of thing that they would like to share, I would really appreciate it.
     
  2. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Visit the public library? I rarely research in book shops, I'm an avid member of the library. Amsterdam has not only a public library, but also university libraries, which have more scientific papers. Or, find someone who's into mining and ask them - most experts have bored most people in their immediate vicinity and the chance to talk extensively on their topic to someone who's genuinely interested doesn't require much persuasion.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    another valuable research resource is people!... ask those who know about what you don't... who do or have done what you want your characters to do... have been/lived where you want them to be/go... many cops, doctors, miners, whatevers, won't mind being asked about their work...
     
  4. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Google is your friend!

    I'm a very visual person, so I tend to raid Google images, collecting photos of the places, people, things that I'm writing about.
     
  5. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I think pretty much anything google-able I have covered. That's good for checking facts. For example, I recently googled the police department Hierarchy for Houston and learned that you have dozens of different departments and the people in charge of those departments are called "Captains". That's a good point on University libraries. I'll have to check them out because they probably have a lot more academic stuff.

    People brought up interviewing people... that's something I want to do but is there a good way to do it? Like if I want to know more stuff about NASA, I have a feeling if I just start asking people I might get some annoyed responses or people that legitimately don't know the answers to my questions.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have found hugely interesting people by googling and finding that OMG! People have websites about this!! And then I email them - almost everyone I've found is more than willing to answer questions, make suggestions, refer me to another expert. Anything I need. (Email is a godsend for me because I'm terribly phobic about talking on the phone - I'll drive for an hour to talk in person rather than spend 10 minutes on the darn thing!)
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    With organizations, you need to check out their About Us or use the "Contact Us" button - explain what sort of information you're looking for or the kind of assistance you'd like, and they can typically put you in touch with the right person - at least to get started. Of course, sometimes you'll get an organizational "We can't respond to individual requests yada yada yada", so that's when you start looking for individuals who have their own websites or forums.
     
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  8. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Also, if you research your subject on paper and write down any questions to which you cannot find the answers, you have a better starting point for conducting interviews. "Tell me everything you know" won't get the response you're looking for.
     

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