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:~: Monday, June 18, 2007 :~:

Bizarre Research Questions

A few weeks ago I posted about researching as you go. Generally that's me, but occasionally (like with this book), I've taken to making big red XXXs wherever I need them in my ms to remind me to go back and look up minuscule details. One would think this would speed up my progress, but I'm not convinced. I do know when I go back to read a certain section to figure out who said what and where, those big red XXXs stick out like sore thumbs and bug me to no end. They float around in my head until I can't think of anything else but finding the answer. Some of them are easy to look up via the internet - they just take time. Some of them are going to require a little more research.

So because I'm procrastinating this morning, I thought I'd share a list of my bizarre research questions that still need to be answered:

1. What on earth do you call a mall in Egypt? Do they have malls? Or are they market places?
2. What would one keep in a garage apartment that might possibly be combustible?
3. What does Northern Pennsylvania really look like? I've been there several times, but who was paying attention to the details back then? I never intended to set part of any book there at the time, it just happened.
4. How long can one really spend outside in a blizzard without literally freezing their ass off?
5. If it snowed in Northern Pennsylvania, would it snow in the Philadelphia area too? What are the weather patterns like back there?
6. When you get a lap dance in a strip club, do you pay before or after the dance? (My husband offered to take me to research this one. Surprised?)

(By the way, if any of you know the answers to these questions, I'm all ears.)

That's just a small sampling. I have a lot more, mostly specific street names and neighborhood locations in Philadelphia. The DH - who has been to Philly more times than I can count for work - was supposed to help with this part, but he's clueless when it comes to all things direction-oriented, so I'm on my own. And it's a lot of research that seriously slows a writer down, so I'm planning do spruce all of that up at the end.

What weird research questions are you looking up for your wip? And what kind of research points MUST you do before you write?



Blogger Linda Winfree said...

For what I've been working on (two works):

1) adverse reactions to anesthesia
2) sunrise times in April in Georgia
3) army slang
4) military rank and MOS
5) circulatory collapse
6) higher math

12:52 PM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

Try Mapquest for the streets in Philly. And if you really need to see what they look like use Google Earth.

Can't answer 1,
2) gasoline, kerosene,
3) Google EARth or pick a county and look it up. Most Counties have websites with pictures and tourist sites.
4) haven't a clue, but would be interesting to know. ;)
5) no clue.
6) I'll ask my dh- he took our son in law to a strip club for his bachelor's party!

I've been researching as I go, because I've found with this book, I'm covering areas, I hadn't planned in the beginning. It's that plantster writer that I am! Right now I'm trying to find out the name of a hotel in Monument, OR in 1888. Wish me luck!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Ooh. All nice research topics, Lin.

And I don't know how people remember military rank. My DH was in the air guard for 12 yrs, so whenever I have a military question, he's the one I turn to. LOL

2:56 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Paty, I thnk I live on mapquest and google earth. What did writers do before those nifty inventions???

Thanks for the help on my research questions! This is a definite plus for blogs. ;)

2:57 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Research topics...I'm all over the map. Since I'm toying with two different manuscripts some of the things I'm looking up are:

1) The life of a showgirl
2) Crime scene analysis & procedure
3) Reading people/body language
4) Interrogation techniques
5) Russian mob
6) How text and pix messages work
7) Psychology of anger and power

As far as research goes, I have to know facts about the setting before I start writing.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

What would one keep in a garage apartment that might possibly be combustible?

DH came up with:

hot plate/cooking appliances
water hearter
paint thinner
stain/paint stripper
cleaning supplies
bad electrical wiring
light bulbs against shades
space heater

6:55 PM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

My DH says most ask for the money before they do the lap dance. And it's usually $20. You can't touch them, but they can touch you.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

Luckily, I haven't needed to do much research on the current wips yet. I'm hoping that streak continues. I find when I stop writing to research, I get caught up in it and have trouble getting back to writing the book. I don't plot, so I can't always research first since I don't know what details I'll need until they come up.

4:05 AM  

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