I’ve been thinking lately about how I go about my writing and wondering how others approach theirs. Not so much what anyone writes with or on, but rather how we all gather information.
As my degree is in Economics rather than English or Literature, most of my college writing involved much library research using dusty volumes buried on the highest floor or farthest reaches of the basement. I used to love just trolling the stacks and randomly picking some esoteric text on econometrics or radical economic theories. Yes, my name is Sam and I am an economics geek.
These days my writing is mostly fiction and focused in the speculative fiction arena. But I still find myself hunting for information, such as the history of witch hunting, or Lagrange points. I do have the benefit of 2 State Universities and 3 Library districts in a 20 mile radius from my home so getting my hands on books is easy. I can still spend hours in the stacks.
At home I’m Google hunting and parsing Wickipedia articles for their source material. There is an incredible amount of material out there.
Would I love to just travel places to get the real nitty gritty? Of course. But while I can go see a 5,000 year old buffalo jump fairly easily, the canals of Venice or the Great Wall of China remain a bit more elusive. But I know even then I would do a good chunk of reading.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m delving too much into facts and reality instead of just writing my stories and trusting future readers to suspend judgement if I miss a little detail here or there. After all, it is fiction. Right?
So I guess my question is how much research does everyone else do – and how?