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Wednesday
Jun222011

Techno Research or Traditional?

   This is truly an incredible time to be a writer.  We no longer have to sit for hours at the library, endlessly researching through limited material, desperately trying to find obscure information for our odd short stories or novel ideas.  Encyclopedias are not the only sources for book reports, and the card catalog system is not something we have to think about so much (not that I ever did...it still perplexes).  All we have to do is relax in the comfort of our homes and type in keyword searches on Google or browse through Amazon for a title that sounds like it might be what we're looking for.  (We can be comforted by 30 day money back guarantees, too.)  There's also Netflix for that handy documentary via streaming, DVD, or Blue-Ray for those that prefer their information with in-your-face crispness that the naked eye doesn't even naturally see (complete with pores!  Yuck!).  We never have to venture to the outside world to hunt and gather our data anymore!  It's so...so...neat, but boring in a way.

   When I first started working at a used bookstore I remember thinking, "Holy crap!  This is the perfect place for me!".  I would gather armloads of books to conduct research with while writing my novels.  If I couldn't find the info in the store, I would borrow other people's books or order more.  It was exciting and exhilerating because of the amount of effort I had to put into it, and I ended up learning far more than I expected.  What also came out of it were new ideas I hadn't even considered possible.  Many plotlines in the Assaudian War series came about because of books I stumbled upon while researching other topics.  Short stories blossomed because of much of the same scenarios.  Books fed my creativity not because I found what I needed, but because I found what I didn't.  I ended up with my own library, the bane of anyone who helps me move, and my pride and joy and number one tool for writing anything. 

    Googling for a quick answer just doesn't carry that same kind of fulfillment, and finding a direct answer won't inspire more.  Granted, there are times that you need to be quick.  If you're under a deadline, or it really is a simple answer, or it's 2am and no bookstores are open because the world is lame, the internet is absolutely the perfect option.  However, we mustn't let ourselves become lazy and rule out traditional research altogether.  The lazier we get, the less likely we are to research at all (take a look at some of those TV shows...I can research during a commercial break what their writers didn't bother to for the entire episode!).  Take a few hours and browse a library or bookstore.  They are the best places for inspiration. 

  Totally random: I still want to jump into a big pile of books like in a ball pit.  It'll hurt in reality, but in dreams it sounds really fun. 

             

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