Despite the fact that fiction is, well, fake, there is still a need for realism in it. Realistic events, realistic setting, smells, sounds, etc. Especially if a book is taking place in a real-world location. In my fiction workshop class we had to go to a place and do “eyes and ears” research for our next short story. We had to take notes on the things we saw and smelled so that when we write the short story we’ll be able to include these intricate details. The major point of this exercise is to teach us to do real-world research, and to show the readers things about a location they might not know. For this story I did my eyes and ears research at the hospital I work at. Specifically the emergency department. I mentioned the wheelchairs, the exit signs, the two sliding doors, the registration area, and a few other various things, and then I wrote a pretty dark and angry short story to go with it. I think my fiction workshop class might be a little freaked out after reading it, but not everything in the world is sunshine and biscuits. (Is that a saying? I don’t think it is).
However, I’m most excited for some research I might potentially be doing very soon. As you all know, I posted a week or two ago about how I’m working on a flintlock fantasy novel. A novel which takes place during the time period of gunpowder weapons. Well, while I was at work last week, one of the doctors from the emergency room asked me how my book sales were going, and we got to chatting about my other books. I mentioned I was working on a flintlock fantasy novel and he told me he might have a musket in his collection that I would be able to go shoot. Freakin’ sweet, right? That would be perfect to actually know what it feels like to load and fire a musket. Plus I’ll get an idea of just how loud it is, any smells that go with it, and how long the whole process takes. I really hope he has one, because I think that will help me add make sure that part of the story is 100% accurate. Of course when/if this happens you’ll all be updated with a blog post and, hopefully, a fair amount of photos.
What sort of research have you done for a story? Have you ever done any particularly cool or exciting/thrilling research? Any strange research?