Friday, September 21, 2018

STRANGER THINGS - What authors learn while writing!

Posted by: Dani Harper, Author
If you live in fear of someone reading your browser history, you just might be an author.

The gang at Here Be Magic share a few of the unusual topics they've researched, or things they've learned, while writing a story:

PG - "The odd bit of research that has stayed with me the longest is the fact that a bullet can travel for miles before falling to earth if nothing gets in its way. I realize that YMMV and a lot depends on the kind of gun it's fired from, the angle at which it's shot, weather conditions, etc, but someday I will write a murder mystery, in the country setting, where the victim is (apparently) accidentally killed that way." ~ PG Forte

CINDY - "I had to determine when rubber condoms were introduced to see if they would fit in a story. I ended up doing an entire essay on the history of condoms that ended up in one of my publishers' newsletter and those of a couple RWA chapters." ~ Cindy Spencer Pape

JODY - "Not strange so much as fascinating – when I was writing Survival of the Fairest, I researched Area 51 very thoroughly. Not Area 51 per se, but the places that people hike to in order to spy on Area 51. What the trail was like, if there were a lot of snakes, where to park, photos taken from those vantage points, and so on. It’s been awhile since I did this research so things could have changed, but people who wrote these hike diaries talked about being buzzed by black air craft as well as how they used to be able to climb this one peak and get fantastic shots but now the protected area has expanded.

"And yes, there are snakes 😊." ~ Jody Wallace

NICOLE - "Okay, the strangest bit of research I ever had to do was for my fantasy novel Gate to Kandrith, which featured a healer character. I wanted him to heal someone who had just been beheaded, and I needed a time frame. This was in the pre-internet days, so I phoned up the reference desk at my public library and asked how long a severed head would stay alive. Unsurprisingly, the librarian couldn't help me. 

"But about a week later I got a call back. The reference librarians had a monthly meeting where they discussed hard questions and pooled their knowledge. Another librarian remembered running across a book about a patent for keeping severed heads alive (eep!), which they then put on hold for me. (The answer is about five minutes in case you're curious.) ~ Nicole Luiken 

DANI - “Dirt. Graveyard dirt to be exact. My browser history wouldn’t reveal much murder and mayhem, but it would convince most people that I’m a practicing sorcerer! I’ve had to learn a lot about the history and traditions of many types of magic in order to build worlds for faeries, shapeshifters, human witches and ghosts.

"Still, I never imagined needing to read up on “how to properly harvest and use graveyard dirt”. (Note - using a shovel is a big no-no. Trust me.) The creepy stuff has surprising uses – even "good" ones – and ended up in the novel I’m working on for my Haunted Holiday series!” ~ Dani Harper 

MAUREEN - "I've looked up some unusual things for stories, but one of the creepiest things was for my story, DESTINY CALLING. I wanted a really, old evil book within the story to be made of something that made your skin crawl. It turns out, some books actually do—kind of. Apparently during the 17th century it wasn't unusual to use human skin to bind books and that Harvard discovered a few books with these strange-looking leather covers in their library.

"So if you come across binding books with human skin in my browser history, think nothing of it. Really..."  ~ Maureen L Bonatch

Author Linda Mooney has learned a lot about bloodstains!
LINDA - "When you're maiming characters, it's useful to know the size of a hole that certain size bullets will make when they enter and exit a body.

"And after the shooting, someone always has to figure out whodunnit... It's been fascinating to learn how blood stain pattern analysis works!" ~ Linda Mooney

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