Monday, October 25, 2010

I Like To Call It Research

I wonder what my neighbor is doing in the dark of night in his backyard. Hmm, a character might have a need to know that information about her neighbor. At some point. Or never. But it's good information to have. So I peek through the blinds. With binoculars.

I didn't really do that, but I might.

You see, I have this insatiable thirst for knowledge.

"Carol, you're nosy."

Any knowledge.

"And a snoop."

What if he killed his wife and was burying her body?

"Don't be meddlesome."

A strong desire to know exactly what's going on.

"It's none of your business."

Well, actually, it is my business because I'm a writer. Perhaps not to know exactly what's going on with my neighbor, but exactly what's going on with all sorts of things that crop up in articles and stories. Here are just a few of the things I've researched recently:
  • What are the optimal growing conditions for catnip?
  • What signs and symptoms will a person with a particular type of delusional disorder exhibit?
  • How many miles of coastline does Texas have?

And the list goes on. I love research. I'm inquisitive. I want to know it all.

Maybe I'm a writer because I'm naturally curious and inquisitive.

What about you? Do you love research? Seek out details?

Do you have an inquiring mind? 


38 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

I do. However, I do most of my spying online. I don't really have much to look at around here that can help my books but if I do find some, I write it down.

Great post. Have a great week.

CD

Jennifer Shirk said...

No, I don't have an acquiring mind.
Could you do my research for me? LOL

Jennifer Shirk said...

Acquiring--inquiring. I obviously need someone to spell for me too! LOL

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Sometimes those need-to-know moments strike in the middle of writing a sentence. That’s the joy of the internet – having immediate sources for finding out more at your fingertips without waiting for the next trip to the library.

Hannah Kincade said...

All the time. And it gets to be a bit morbid, depending on what I'm watching or reading at the time. I remember at a young age wondering what a dead body smelled like and if I would say that to anyone who's not a writer, they would think I'm homicidal, which I'm not...every day. tee-hee!

Carol Kilgore said...

Clarissa - I spy online, too :)

Jennifer - It's still early, and Monday, so you're excused :)
I'll research for you if you'll edit for me.

Jane - Same here.

Hannah - The other day I had lunch with my sister and I'm telling her I need to kill this character and can't figure out the best way to do it. So we're talking about all kinds of things related to that, and noticed the people at the next table were giving us strange looks.

Joanne said...

I love research. Even little bits of it woven in give a novel such authenticity. And I find that research always opens my thinking regarding plot development, character traits. It's a great tool in so many ways.

Linda Kage said...

Do I sense a James Stewart/Grace Kelly "Rear Window" story coming from you soon, Carol??

Helen Ginger said...

I usually like research, except when I simply cannot find what I need. I can get sidetracked in research, though. You come upon interesting but useless stuff.

Carol Kilgore said...

Joanne - I've found those things out, too.

Linda - Wasn't that a great old movie? And in answer, I'm not telling :)

Helen - Useless now, maybe, but maybe in that next story. . . .

VR Barkowski said...

I adore research! I shouldn't admit this, but it's how I became a sociologist. I have only minimal interest in sociology, per se, but designing questionnaires that dig into people's lives? I was all over that. Seriously, it's why my emphasis was on qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, if anything is happening outside my house at night, I'm going to look!

And how many miles of coastline does Texas possess?

Nick Thomas said...

Don't look too closely at neighbors, you may NOT like what you see.

Colette said...

I get obsessed with "why" more than "what' or "how". Maybe I was meant to be a shrink rather than a writer...

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Ah, the endless maze of research - I know it well! I sometimes worry about what nefarious watch lists I might be on, given my rather eccentric searches on the net.

It's all for research, of course.

KarenG said...

There's a quote from the movie Sound of Music, "It appears that we're both suffering from a deplorable lack of curiosity."

Haha, never a problem for the writer!

Teresa aka JW said...

I DO love research, even the boring kind.

Lydia Kang said...

I love learning lots of facts that may have nothing to do with me or writing. It's all a good thing, and I think it may be a necessary trait in writers!

Carol Kilgore said...

VR - You're way more analytical than I am, I think. I tend to roll with feelings and hunches and go after answers.

Alex - Texas has 624 miles of coastline.

Nick - Very true :)

Collette - I often become obsessed with 'why', too.

Elspeth - I have a funny story about that best told face-to-face over your favorite alcoholic beverage. See you on the list - LOL.

Karen - Not this writer, anyway!

Teresa - Exactly...doesn't matter what.

Lydia - Same for me.

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Mason Canyon said...

I have an inquiring mind too. I just blame it on being a reporter. LOL

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Manzanita said...

Oh yes, before computers, I had notebooks and notebooks of useless information. Now I just have a computer full of useless information!!

kimberlyloomis said...

Indeed I do. Lately this research has been more in the form of philosophy with a smidge in early 20th century Russian history, but generally I love learning STUFF.

Sheila Deeth said...

Enquiring mind, hopeless memory, and invaluable internet, plus family.

RaShelle said...

Oh my goodness Carol, I LOVE research. Your little scenario up there sounded like part of a cozy novel. And you're darn right, we writers need to know this stuff.

A little secret. The other day, there was a car parked across the street from my house. (It was there for over an hour and their were two guys sitting inside. I felt an obligation as a concerned citizen). I not only spied WITH binoculars, but I took photos and blew them up on my computer so I could see who they were. Ssshhh, don't tell. =D

Glynis said...

I especially like the triva stuff. No reason to know it but it's interesting.

Haley Sue said...

I definitely love research. In my Lit/Eco-criticism class right now we're talking about the food industry and the idea of organic....which really got me thinking. Ha research is what leads to us stirring the pot and finding the real facts! I love it!

Carol Kilgore said...

Mason - That's your job, too!

Manzanita - I'm laughing because I often wonder if I'll ever need to know any of this stuff ever again.

Kimberly - It's better than toys :)

Sheila - It's so much easier with the internet. I'm hoping that's a good thing.

RaShelle - Good job! I hope you got their tag number, too.

Glynis - Oh yeah. It doesn't have to be important.

Haley Sue - Yes, it's a chain reaction.

Arlee Bird said...

Call me nosy if you will, but I like to think of myself as curious and inquisitive. How do you learn new things if you don't do some research? Often I will watch a movie and afterward start googling things talked about in the movie or actors or whatever to get more info. I've even intruded into overheard conversations--discreetly and diplomatically of course--when I've heard something that interests me. I've met some pretty cool people like this.

I'm not nosy, I'm interested.

Lee
Tossing It Out

tera said...

Sound like "Rear Window"!
I love looking stuff up. Hubs and I are always on line looking up one thing or another. Makes my mind full of random useless knowledge "just in case" I may someday be on Who Wants to be a Millionaire! :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Arlee - I do those things, too!

Tera - Welcome to the Tiki Hut. Thanks for commenting. You know, I don't think they had too many writers as contestants on that show :)

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I do! This usually results in me eavesdropping, or Google endless facts!

Carol Kilgore said...

Yes and yes. Same with me.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I love research and I love to invent the backstories for random people I meet on the street.

Shallee said...

Ooh, this is my very favorite kind of research! I like to do it at Walmart. I've never seen quite the variety of people as I do at Walmart!

I just stumbled across your blog, and I'm glad I did! This post made me laugh. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Holly - I do the same thing. Of course they're probably nothing like my story.

Shallee - Thanks for stumbling into the Tiki Hut - and for following :) I welcome all comments.

Hart Johnson said...

*snickers* I don't need to watch my neighbors. I'm totally married to Mrs. Kravitz. he tells me what every one of them is doing all the time. Even when I don't want to know.

And it's funny, because I technically DO research, but I really don't like looking it up all that much. I do it, but I sort of prefer to surround myself with friends who know stuff. So I may start asking you questions *teehee*

Carol Kilgore said...

Hart - I love actually looking it up, even if it's looking up the number or email of someone to ask. Mrs. Kravitz - LOL!