Research is like an iceberg ... only not dangerous, one hopes
- I say that because --as a rule of thumb-- it is only appropriate for
about 10 percent of my background research to show up in my books.
The other 90 percent looms below the surface.
With luck, my readers will never notice that it's there. :-) After
all, for every cool, alien-seeming flower or fruit, there are lots of
equally exotic plants that aren't useful for the purposes of my story.
My furious hero is stuck on a deserted island with an unwilling
heroine who won't take off her fancy (but wet) clothes to save her
life .... which she should! According to SURVIVORMAN, Les Stroud,
the best way to avoid hypothermia is to doff the wet dudes and share
body heat. So, he decides that life will be more tolerable if he can
construct a distillery and a guitar --or a flute.
It doesn't much further the story if my hero then plans exactly how
he will go about fabricating his moonshine still or his instrument,
but the author needs to know, and a true detail here or there gives
the hero something to do in coming scenes.
Research is on my mind partly because my "Research" for a desert
island survival romance was the topic of a radio interview I was
given yesterday. Also, because I have suggested to the organizers of
next year's Romantic Times Convention that I'd like to put together a
workshop on "Research". And finally, because I am about ready to get
into the Research phase of writing my next book.
Thank goodness for the internet! Imagine walking into a public
library, and asking the librarian to point me to the stacks dealing
with unauthorized exhumations, for example.
I'll leave you with that thought, pretty much. I'd like to welcome
the new members to this group, and wish you all a prosperous and