Research Research Research

You can never research too much. Well, not really.

You can get lost in YouTube Hell: going in for videos on sword work and realizing you’ve migrated to watching kittens dancing to Timberlake.

You can start reading articles on sword work in Wikipedia and realize you’re now reading an article on nuclear fission (true story).

But in terms of backstory (stuff you will probably never use), you can never research too much. Know your subject matter. Know the character. Know the setting. You don’t need a degree in something in order to write a believable character. You just need to know enough to write about it. Your comfort level included. For example, I will never be comfortable enough to write a character who is into math. I know this. I can research all I want and it will never take.

The truism “Write What You Know” fits here. It isn’t always “write what you know from your own life experiences”. Keep that in mind. It is write what you know well enough to immerse your reader. Not drown them, immerse them. Big difference.

I’m currently researching St George for a little project. It will probably never go anywhere but it is fun learning something new. As I do my research, I am using two things: TheBrain and Pocket. TheBrain is a mindmapping software I discussed earlier. Pocket is a website that allows you to save articles (usually from a browser plugin/addon/extension) to read later. It is free but I’m not sure how they earn money. Probably analysis on the articles people are saving and through the recommended and sponsored links. And since neither impinge on my privacy, I don’t mind.

Pocket is allowing me to look for articles while on my phone somewhere (waiting for L somewhere, for the food to be brought out, whatever), save them to Pocket, then read them later when I get back home to my bigger monitor. If I like the article enough and want to save it for reference, I drag/drop the page into my writing brain.

I like Pocket since it is better than bookmarks (good gawd I have a lot of bookmarks) and certainly beats “saving” it on Facebook for later (never to be seen again…). There’s no syncing between devices since it is online only.

The reason I am doing this post is because this is my first time using Pocket for research articles. Usually I just have it for various articles I want to save and read later. Using them for book research knocks it up a notch in priority. I am wanting to make things easier and not duplicate my efforts in research, bookmarks, reading, projects, etc.