Monday, April 18, 2011

Research Notes

Every book requires research of some kind... some more than others, though it's rare for me to go through an entire writing session without looking up one thing or another. Even an autobiography will probably need research, if only for various dates and locations.

Some research is huge (I read book after book on ancient Rome while preparing to write Olympus Gate), and some is easy (like checking urban dictionary to make sure that made-up name I've been thinking of using isn't actually slang for something dirty).

Here's some of the research I've been doing lately:

On First Aid

First Aid comes up a few times in the new book. I've learned some useful information from my research. This is one case where research could actually help save a life in reality.

So, do you know what to do if you are the first on the scene of an accident? Do you know what not to do?

Quick PSA for anyone who doesn't happen to know: Unless the victim of an accident is in immediate danger (e.g. a car fire), don't move the victim. The person could have a spinal cord injury, which could be made worse by movement.

Do check for breathing, and clear the victim's airway if breathing is obstructed. Do cover the victim with something warm to help prevent shock. Do keep the victim talking.

I hope that I never need to use this information, but if I do, it's good to have.

How much do you know about first aid, and have you ever needed to use it?

On Guitars

I love music and I know a lot about music, but my knowledge is really detailed in some areas and really blank in others. One of my new characters is a musician, and it just so happens that his areas of knowledge fit right into my areas of ignorance. So in order to make him believable I have to fill in the gaps.

Luckily I have a younger brother whose music interests overlap the character's pretty well, so I got a whole playlist of bands to listen to from him.

But I still needed to do a little research on guitars, so recently I've been going through the Fender and Gibson websites, looking for the right ones. The unintended consequence? Now I want a shiny new guitar. Fortunately the fact that I would have no idea what to do with it has been a convincing reason not to get one.

Do any of you play guitar (or another instrument)?


  1. Play Rockband. It won't actually teach you how to play the guitar. But it will give you a taste of imagining you know how to play, and might give you more reason to actually go out and get one. XD Or, you could make a character look like your character out of the book. And watch him run around with the band. Productive? Probably not. Fun? Heck yeah!