Researching a Novel


Part of writing is that you often have to research. you can print things to PDF – I do that a lot. Another thing I’ve been doing is clipping things to Evernote.

The thing about saving things to PDF is that I can drag and drop the PDF’s to the research corkboard in Scrivener. You can also just clip it to Evernote, and you can actually just save the fragment you’re looking for.

Both systems have advantages. Because it always seems like there’s SOMETHING in every novel you stick in there that you don’t know about. People who know me are often amazed when I admit there’s gaps in my knowledge! Yes, I’ve learned (and can recall) a lot of facts about a lot of things.

I know a lot about Japanese swordfighting. I know a lot about Martial arts. I know a LITTLE about mountain climbing. now, see, that’s the kind of thing that creeps into your novels. I’m doomed that it’s going to happen. I know about freebase climbing, because it’s simple. Chalk your hands, grab a rock, put a foot up, and go that way (up).

I don’t know anything about crampons, carabiners, ropes, knots, or any of the other stuff. So i’m pretty much doomed to know that sooner or later there’s going to be a mountain lcimbing scene SOMEWHERE.

Boating. I know boats. They sit on water. If you’re lucky. Otherwise, they sink.

That’s it.

To write my first novel, I ended up learning a little about boats, waves, etc. I already knew about a lee shore from Moby dick, and from growing up in Newport. I mean, the Lee side of Newport has the big shopping street (Thames Street). The ocean side of the Island has… beaches. ANd NOBODY built on the beaches for a couple of hundred years – something Newport would do well to remember. The only stuff built close to the ocean was… the mansions, which were on Ocean Drive, and quite a height off the water.

so i had to learn MORE about follwing seas, confused seas, when you get your vessell to shore, how to survive a confused or following sea, wind speeds, wave heights, etc.

I had to learn how to build a buidling using natural materials found on site. How to build and construct a shelter you can hide. how many people it takes to make an effective settlement. Camouflage. combat patrols. survival foods and items.

sometimes it seems like you spend more time researching than writing!

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