Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: May 2017

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has recruited another wonderful group of minion co-hosts: Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website!

Congratulations to the authors included in the newest IWSG anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, which is now available.

I love the question for this month, so I'll jump right into it.

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Oh man, I've done a lot of interesting internet searches over the years.  If any non-writers got a look at what some of them were, they'd likely be horrified.  Just last week, I did the search "how long does it take for a pool of blood to coagulate?" I did it for a story I'm writing right now.  I've also done searches about how long it takes for various poisons to kill an average adult.  Those don't sound too horrific, do they? :)

What weird or cool things have you had to research for your writing?


  1. Hopefully you're just on the FBI's writer list. LOL

  2. I love it! My claim today is researching how to melt a body, but there have been plenty of other strange searches. You know, if a true psycho wanted to sneak under the radar, all they'd have to do is throw a website on the internet claiming they were an author. =)

  3. Oh I thought the question meant actual bands on research. I've done lots of creepy internet research! I though all writers did, isn't that why we're on all the government watch lists?

    IWSG May

  4. I've had my share of weird searches, but I always blank out when asked. _-_

  5. One of the best things about being a writer is the research. It can lead to learning about so many fascinating things that you just wouldn't have known otherwise!

  6. Writing as a pantser, I do a lot of research in how to kill folks. LOL!

    DB McNicol, author & traveler

  7. Fortunately, I'm well known at my local library, but I still make sure to tell them that the off-the-wall subjects I'm checking out are for a story I'm writing (not sure most of them believe me, but I still tell them). At least they used to have most of the Howdunit Series by Writer's Digest Books, so it was obvious I was researching for a writing favorites are Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons, Police Procedurals, and I can't remember the title but there was one on autopsies and other such forensic techniques as well. One of the librarians is a good friend and fellow author, so he totally gets it when he's the one checking out my books. If he's not super busy, we'll stand there and discuss how our writing projects are going, and trade ideas, and he usually has pretty good suggestions for research subjects for me, since we're writing similar stories (the good old fantasy standby---a magic school, his is in another dimension and mine got started in the single-digit centuries CE in Ireland). He's currently working on the second book in his series, while I'm still struggling with the research for my first one---there just isn't that much available at the library on the needed time periods, and I can't seem to find what I need online either. Instead of using Latin (like another well-known series) for the spells, I'm using Irish Gaelic. The problem is, I don't know how much the language has changed over the centuries, so I need to figure that out---was 5th century Gaelic the same as 20th century? If not, how has it changed? Were they actually speaking a totally different language back then that eventually evolved into what we know as the Gaelic language of today? This is just one example of the information I'm having trouble finding. The rest if I really had to I could just totally make up the details for, but using an actual language instead of a totally made-up one, I want to be as accurate as possible when using it, even if I'm the only one who realizes it. (Some things I'm just a stickler on, and being as historically accurate as possible is one of those things.)

    I still get weird looks at the library, but not nearly as many as I used to. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. :P

  8. I'm also fairly certain I'm on just about every government watch list out there and have been for years, so a long time ago I stopped worrying about it. I figure I'm already on their lists anyway, might as well give them something to think about while I'm having fun writing. :P If my research on vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures hasn't weirded them out yet, then I'm either not doing it right, or they've long ago given up on me. ;) Especially when I asked the librarians for help on researching non-fiction vampires instead of the fictional ones...I didn't want more books on Dracula, I wanted books on the *real* Vlad Tepes, Countess Bathory, and other actual historical figures who lived the lifestyle. The books are out there, I had read one when I was in 6th grade (which I'm sure gave my aunt who was the local librarian at the time nightmares) that was just called Vampires, can't remember the author's name, but it was about all the actual historical people, not their fictional counterparts, although the fiction was covered too. But I hadn't seen the book in over twenty years, and still have no idea where to find it, so I had to ask for help finding something similar because our library only had information on the fictional version at the time. Since then they've gotten two books in on the historical ones, one of which I actually have my own copy of now. I'm sure I freaked a few of them out when I asked for the non-fiction books on the subject at the time. I explained it was for a story I was writing for an online group, and that I wanted the actual history of the legends, not just the fictional versions.

  9. I love the research part of writing and have trouble reining it in. It is fun. And it can be weird learning some stuff, but there's so much we don't know and want to find out.

  10. Research can be the funnest part!
    Love the background on your website, BTW.
    Thanks for the anthology shout-out!

  11. Research can be too much fun. I can get so involved in research I forget the purpose is to write. LOL