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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

22 Sarah Eden: Research

Sarah's advice on Research is guaranteed to make you want to go out and research something yourself.
Some of the basics:

  • You should do research anytime you are writing about:
    • A character with a different job, religion, race, medical history, gender, family background, hometown, or place of residence than yours
    • A time period or location other than your own
  • You can start with the internet, but don't stop there
    • Sarah is unsure about Wikipedia
    • Verify important facts with three independent sources--though the US Mint likely has pretty accurate information about coins
    • Use the internet to point you toward primary sources, etc
  • Read books--they help with info, dialogue, little-known details, and they're all grouped together on the library shelves
  • Experience anything you can--wearing a corset you made yourself really helps you understand your characters. :)
  • Experts like to share--be professional and courteous of their time, then put them in your acknowledgments
  • Professional researchers can help--but you might have to pay them
Sarah also answered such burning questions as the worst mistake she's seen in a book that research would have fixed, the character that sprang from a couple of letters, and the quirkiest thing she found and actually used in a book.

She MC'd for LDStorymakers 2011 and was asked to do it again for 2012. You can see her awesome MC videos on her site.
Also, in case an hour of advice from Sarah isn't enough for you, you can hear her every Wednesday on her own podcast (with Robison Wells and Marion Jensen): The Appendix, where they give general writing advice and play writing-related games, perfect for getting the old writing juices flowing.

Listen to it below or access the MP3 by clicking here.

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