Ease of research in the modern age…a great time to be a writer

Man, so much for my belief that I can post to this daily.  The days just slip by.  It’s another Wednesday which means I’ll be heading over to the bar soon.  I’m just past the 35,000 word mark and I’m happy with both the progress and quality of the work – so that’s good.

I’ve been doing a bunch of research as I need details about certain aspects.  Like how a Round House of the Iron Age is constructed. One of the coolest parts of writing is finding out tidbits like this.  For the most part I employ the “iceberg approach” so most of my research never shows to the reader, but I know about it and I enjoy the learning.

Over the last week or so I’ve felt a bit like I’m in the Matrix.

“Do you know how to fly that helicopter?”  

“Not yet.”  <jack in>

“Okay, let’s go.”

Back in my “first writing career” (from 1987 – 1997) I lived in the wilds of Vermont and had there was no such thing as the Internet.  Now I just have to do some searches and I get:

I the past I drove 80 miles to the nearest “decent library” and spent a fortune Xeroxing research text.  Now it’s all at my fingertips.

Man it’s a wonderful time to be a writer…in oh so many ways!

9 thoughts on “Ease of research in the modern age…a great time to be a writer

  1. I tend to look up “random” stuff on the internet anyway. How much better it is to have that as part of your job! If I wasn’t at work (/cry) I would probably click on every one of the roundhouse links you just provided and read them all.

  2. Ah, roundhouses. They’re awesome. There’s a place in the Fens in eastern England here they’ve reconstructed some bronze age round houses and they’re totally awesome. Nothing like standing inside one, experiencing the atmosphere and also the slightly smokiness that makes your eyes water.

    In that respect I feel lucky to be British and live somewhere with thousands of years of varied history that is protected precisely so people like me can have a look at it. I live within an easy drive of about 4 castles, a few Roman towns, plenty of medieval towns, a hugely important industrial revolution town with loads of museums, a couple of ruined priories that have been naught but walls since the Reformation. Oh and the place King Charles II hid in an oak tree. All of it has been so inspiring.

    But yes, it’s definitely cool ho easy it is to research. I just wish the same was true of academic research – I have to drive back to my old uni to research my non-fiction book. But clicking “Random” on Wikipedia, or reading through TodayILearned on Reddit, can give me all sorts of ideas and insights. In fact those are things I do hen worldbuilding or trying to think of a ne story and I get stuck.

  3. Google Street maps proved immensely useful for my debut novel which was set in York. I was able to find suitable venues for critical evenys long before I walked past those spots, saving me weeks of research.
    I love the 21st Century!

  4. This is a great point. My Scrivener projects are filled with URLs in the Research box. I still enjoy picking up the odd book on a subject as, sometimes, they tend to have more depth. But now that you can get many of them in eBook form, it’s even better.

    Another useful place I’ve found is the electronic archives maintained by many universities – The University of Toronto has an excellent one: http://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/

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