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.