Thursday, May 14, 2009

Weird research

It's amazing the stuff you have to look up for stories sometimes. Last week I was deep in the rather arcane regulations surrounding the use of child car seats in the UK. Yesterday I had to research the lead actor's name in Twilight (Robert Pattinson, in case you didn't know either) and Russell Crowe's age.

None of these was for the major theme of a story, but just those off-the-cuff little remarks that can make all the difference if you get them wrong. I've seen this myself when I've had my reader hat on. Years ago I found a story in which the hero was on a cruise ship which docked overnight in Paris. A Paris that had miraculously translocated itself to the French coast. By the time I'd finished boggling, I'd totally lost track of where I was in the story and had to go back and start it again. I'd hate that to happen to anyone reading my work.

Besides, it's actually a lot of fun. You never know what you're going to have to find out about next.


Dharma Kelleher said...

So true! For my latest novel-in-progress, I've had to research Guatemalan culture and history (particularly the genocides), child adoption, custom motorcycle design (I even learned how to weld), and police procedures. Most of this research was for character back story.

fiona glass said...

Wow, now I'm intrigued to know what kind of book could possibly contain all of that. ;)