Friday, February 12, 2010

Confession of a Serial Researcher

Today I hosted a Valentine's party for 43 homeschooled children ranging in ages from 2-12. Does this count as research? I learned that not everyone is familiar with glue dots, the tried and true games are the most popular, and small (or big, for that matter) boys on sugar highs can't be within arms distance of each other without pushing, shoving, wrestling or causing some kind of mayhem.

What's that? You want to hear about research for the young adult novel I'm working on? I guess I have a confession to make. In the interest of actually getting a complete draft written before I turn 40 (two years), I've decided to cease and desist researching until I've finished said draft. My reason being that I, like my fellow bloggers, tend to get whisked down the rabbit hole so to speak when I start digging around.

I have been keeping track of items for future research, i.e. how people react when they find a dead body, what precisely happens when someone is in the foster care system and turns 18, what types of weapons 16th century pirates might use, etc. I realize that this method might result in some rewriting, when all is said and done. But, I'm OK with that. I am just so anxious to get a complete draft on paper that I don't mind the thought of having to add or change detail later.

That said, I have learned a great deal about one particular pirate although there isn't actually too much known about her. There are a number of legends and postings on the Internet and one comprehensive history book about her life and times. My goal is to write vignettes about this woman at the beginning of each chapter and also to tie events in her life to that of my main character.

Methods of research? I like the Internet. Is there anything Google can't find? I also read a lot. But, what I really like to do is find real-people to interview. I probably will try to find a homicide detective who will speak with me, for example, and a social worker. Maybe even an expert on searching for lost pirate treasure. I guess I find that sometimes if I need to know the answer to something it never hurts to ask.


  1. I hope you saw the Pirates exibit at the field museum about the Whydah the worlds only pirate treasure ever found. The Whydah was a slave ship that was captured and turned into a pirate ship. Very interesting stuff. It would be so cool if you could interview someone on that exhibition. Or maybe you could interview someone at the museum who worked on the exhibit.

    Actually, the exhibit was so detailed it was almost like being there. I'm talking about being on the ship as a slave captive, then as a pirate.

  2. Thanks! I did not have the chance to see that exhibit. But, I have googled it :-), and found a lot of good info. I agree that it would be cool to interview someone related to the exhibit.

  3. cool idea about the pirate exhibit, Urania! I like that idea of knowing what specific things you need to research and going back and filling that in later since you are ok with rewriting if necessary. You've already done the available research on the main crux of your story. For the social worker and foster care system stuff, keep in mind that it does vary state to state. So if you want to be 100% factually correct, you'd want a source from the state Gracie lived in. But i don't know if you have to be completely perfect on that--movies sure take whatever liberties they like! If you want general or Illinois stuff, i can probably give you enough info.