1. Fish
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    Fish New Member

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    Nightmare!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fish, Aug 20, 2009.

    My story has tied itself in knots :( Mostly because i have not done any research on its subject. It has become nonsence TT.TT

    I want to ask about how everybody does research, I don't have any resources except books, which i have to buy, expensive! No matter how i search online i never seem to find much information, except one website which is a goldmine. The thing is when i research i get stressed and it is all over the place and i never seem to learn anything. Does anybody have any tips to keep research organised?

    Also, My first draft is up to 60 page (in two weeks - never wrote so much so fast), I have no plans on giving up on my story and plan to take it through to the final draft :eek: but it looks like i have to start my first draft from scratch :eek: :( TT.TT, but I'm worried that this will damege my story, will it?
     
  2. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Are there no free libraries in your area?

    I researched my novel extensively through:

    1. Books, including those found in the library.

    2. Google.

    3. Travel: Going to locations used in my book.

    If you do have access to a library, and they don't have the books you're looking for, go to the desk and ask the librarian. He can probably order them from other libraries. I do that regularly.

    Charlie
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    google is your best friend!

    learn to google creatively and specifically...

    to keep from getting buried in too much research, just look for the specific info you need, not a general subject... such as:

    you're writing a story about a kid sailing around the world on his own and you know nothing about boats...

    don't google just for 'boats' or 'sailing'... first look up books about solo sailors on amazon.com and see what kinds of boats actually have done that... then decide what yours will be and google for that kind only...

    get a few of those books from the library, or buy them used on amazon for a buck or two each and you'll have all the info you need...

    as for 'damaging' your story, how can starting over do that?... it's still whatever story you want to tell... and why do you have to start from scratch, anyway?

    or, if you're writing a detective story and need to know about guns, just google for the model your guy/gal uses... don't know what that should be?... google for 'hand guns' and/or check out a few detective novels and see what tickles your fancy...

    be sure to enclose your question/subject in " " when googling, so you'll get specific hits...
     
  4. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    Another useful Google trick is putting the plus sign + between words instead of space. The results you get should contain all the words in your search though not necessarily in the order you wrote typed them in, which is what happens when you bracket things as Mammamia suggested.
     
  5. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    One vital part of research is actually knowing what you want to write about in the first place, after all if it is something relating to modern day or a place, then the best bit of research you can do is actually to experience it for yourself. even historical fiction can be experienced, I myself have spent many hours in historic dockyards and naval ships when writing my Trafalgar script and combined this with hours of book reading, internet research and prior knowledge. If you are doing something in modern history or a different culture for instance, then the best thing is to actually ask people who have actually experienced it or at the very least read biographies, or journals which are related to this. Remember libraries aren't just for books either and you may find useful documentaries n your subject. Finally knowing your audience is a vital part of the research so see what other people do in the genre and what it is that they do well for the target audience.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Wikipedia is also useful because at the end of most articles they site references, and a lot of the time they are links. The books they reference, you can check out at the library.

    Be sure to read the arguments on the wiki article, located at the top of the page.
     
  7. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Or any of the many, many online places to get cheap books...some of the sites I've used include ebay, half.com and abebooks, but there are many more.

    Or yard sales, garage sales, flea markets, "tag" sales, used book stores, rummage sales, library sales...

    Friends, neighbors, relatives, who read books and don't mind sharing them...

    Then, for those elusive specific books that you just must own and don't mind spending a little more for, if you sign up at Borders.com and Barnes & Nobel.com, they send you coupons every so often to get discounts. Some of those coupons are as much as 40% off the price of a book. Borders coupons tend to be more generous, but at frequent purchasers at B&N might want to consider paying for the membership for discounts.

    I'm so inundated with books, I can't imagine the alternate universe where they are in short supply. I have stacks and stacks of them. When I finish them, I loan them out...often not getting them back but being glad that they're being read and read and read, the way books should be.

    Charlie
     
  8. Far Away
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    Far Away Member

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    The seed was planted in my mind when I was looking for a book on a certain subject and I just couldn't find it. I had read "Lolita" and loved it, so I wanted to look for something similar. When I couldn't find it, I thought, "I'll write it myself."

    So after a few days of thought, I found some character sheets and started working away. At first I just had two five-page character sheets that I was filling out. I thought it would be a breeze, and it was, until I realized I knew nothing about the era the story was set it.

    I went to the library, talked to the librarian and several other people in the library. Our town's library is pretty small, so there are two head librarians to help out in the adult section. They got me set up with some general interest books about the 1950's, and I was on my way.

    My mom then suggested we talk to her brothers, two of whom were born in the 40's and would remember the 50's quite clearly.

    And so I just started learning things. I have a friend who loves the 50's so she was able to tell me some things that she knew. She's a writer herself and has agreed to be my beta.

    So whatever your topic is, go to the library and talk to people! Regular users of the library should be able to help, as will a good librarian. Go online-though I don't suggest it as much as getting out a book. Talk to people if it takes place in a different time than your own.

    I've never done this much research before, and it's definitely paid off.
     
  9. Nervous1st
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    Nervous1st Senior Member

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    My novel involves characters with specific traits which I needed to research, things like depression and anxiety. I joined a forum (to read only) where people talk about their experiences and how depression effects them.

    Organising your notes is different for everyone. I keep a notebook handy or a running word doc where I can add notes and comments. The more I read and studied the more the information became second nature.

    Good luck.
     
  10. lovely
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    lovely Member

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    One other thing that I would like to mention is links to other sources. If you find a great website that gives you tons of information, look at their sources. Any reputable information site should do this, or at least post links to other like sites. Make sure you take a look at all these other links and sites, because chances are that they will have other valuable information.

    The same holds true for books, too. Most non-fiction books have bibliographies in the back. Use those to look for other sources in your library or other libraries as someone has already mentioned. You can also look these up online and maybe find small excerpts that may have information for you.
     
  11. valentiNo
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    valentiNo Member

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    You could maybe use torrent for getting the books that you want or stay at a library.
     

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