Research (Or: How Miss Cole Remembered She Does Understand Science)

Research does not need to be scary.

Really!

And every book probably requires more than you think.

Not all research requires sitting down and taking in a lot of facts.  For example, in my (still) querying MS, I had to find out what it was really like to use a gun.  So during a trip to the US, I had the opportunity to do so and I could put that real life experience into play.  Aiming and hitting the target where you intend to hit it is a lot harder than you might think.  I don't care how expert all those shooters on TV and in films are - it is not that easy! Also, you really appreciate the terrifying power of a gun when you use one.  Those experiences are now in the book.  No amount of reading about weapons or watching TV and films could've given me that kind of knowledge.

But of course some research will require reading.  I just finished reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier and it was fascinating! Other than helping me confirm the important scientific details of my sci-fi story, I really enjoyed learning about astrophysics and the research currently being carried out in space.

We are so, so, so tiny.  Earth feels huge, but it's a minute part of a massive universe and if it's minute, what are we?

Specks.

Here, watch this gif. It will show you the scale of things out there in space:


My lovely misfit character has to deal with her teeny tininess and what it means to be a itty bitty human in the unimaginable HUGENESS of the universe.

But getting back to my scientific research, I surprised myself with how much I understood.  I struggled a lot with science at school but studying it in my own time and in my own way showed me I'm not as hopeless as my teachers at school led me to believe.

Now I've got a clearer picture of the realities of deep space travel (or, at least, the possible realities hahah!), my second draft can come together with all the details - big and small - that will give the story the depth and grounding it needs to make it feel real.

I've loved carrying out all this research.  How about you? How much research do you carry out? Do you enjoy it? Do you find ways to avoid it? Do you think every book requires it?

Comments

  1. Great theme with our tininess/the hugeness of the universe! I once heard a truly inspiring lecture on those sorts of ideas in Paradise Lost.

    My blog partner, good friend, and lovely CP Tyler-Rose Counts, has an eye for practical accuracy, so having her read my stuff REALLY helps. ("You know arrows and throwing knives have vastly different ranges, right? Should probably not be aiming them both at the same target.") I think she is naturally inclined to think about that stuff so I really lucked out.

    Though of course I do research on my own, but it tends to be more background knowledge that I just stumble upon. Today I was reading some psychology and it felt a little over my head--but not too, too bad. Kind of similar to your experience, now that I think about it. :)

    Also, never let a teacher (or a ghost of teachers past, or whatever) let you think you're hopeless! *stern face*

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    1. I had some bad experiences with teachers at school and do you know, all these years later, I *still* have to tell myself to not listen to them.

      How helpful to have a CP with those sorts of skills! I never would've thought of that ^^;;

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  2. I do a lot of research into ancient cultures and mythologies that are an inspiration for my fantasy world. I also delve into Platonic and Aristotelian writings because I've based the magic in that world on their philosophy. I prefer to refer to original writings when I can get them easily. I really enjoy experiencing the way the ancients used language.

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    1. Oooh, that sounds interesting too! I hope I get hit by an idea one day that requires that kind of research :D

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  3. Science was not my best subject in school, so for years I had this idea that me and science were not a good fit. All these years later, I get it in a way I never did in school. Learning on your own time and on your own terms is sometimes so much more effective, don't you think? :)

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    1. Absolutely! Especially when teenage pride and frustrated teachers are no longer an issue.

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  4. Sometimes things are just so much more interesting when you're not being FORCED to learn them, right? :D Science is awesome!

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    1. Exactly! Choosing to do something rather than being forced will definitely be more successful ^_^

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  5. That gif is AWESOME! And learning is always fun, but way more fun when you choose to do it (and there are no tests and papers on what you learned!).

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    1. I know! First time I saw it I was like "I'm so tiny I practically don't exist. WOW! THE UNIVERSE IS SO COOL!" :D

      Yeah, I'm aaaaaall for learning sans tests ;)

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