Friday, February 11, 2011

Research Potluck


Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hey guys. I was visiting DL Hammon's blog the other day when he was talking about being half-cocked in the writing process...go check it out if you didn't get a chance to read.
Anyway, he explained the term half-cocked as a reference to guns from way back when (not putting a man's you-know-what on the chopping block.)

I knew the term and others from my research on flint-lock rifles for my last novel.

The term "flash in the pan" comes from when the gunpowder sat on a little pan that, if improperly loaded, would ignite but without firing the bullet.

I know about flint, and the gunpowder and barrels and how to make bullets and patches and the percussion cap system that replaced the flint lock and how to shoot them in the rain and...

You get the picture.

So, in your writing research, have you learned something that other people would never guess you knew?

Please share!

Also, this year I'm participating in Rach's Second Writers' Platform Building Crusade. So if you're looking for a new way to meet blogging friends, join in!

57 comments:

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm funny like that. There are common place things EVERYONE (except me) knows and then there are bizarre things I've picked up that I don't realize aren't common knowledge.

Misha said...

Duelling.

With swords.

Enough said.

^_^

Laura Pauling said...

The ancient Maya. Even though the book is shelved it was awesome to learn so much about a culture I knew nothing about!

Terri Tiffany said...

I wish!! I learned a bit about hunting from hubby cause I needed to write about it in my current WIP,

salarsenッ said...

Currently, I'm learning a ton about the gypsy lifestyle, customs, and magick...too fun!

Justine Dell said...

Wait ... we are supposed to research?

I've learned about law stuff, fashion stuff, horse stuff (well, I already knew about the horse stuff--teehee).

Pretty much every book gives me some small new information.

~JD

jbchicoine said...

I guess I know more about building boats than most people would guess. Makes me want to build one!

Karen Lange said...

I think it's interesting to learn where sayings come from, and also all the nifty details that are unearthed in research. You just never know what tangent it might take you on, and what that can do for a story.

Have a great weekend,
Karen

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, I could get lost in research every day. From this past WIP, I now know how an MRI works. From others, I know about volcanoes, tunnel-digging machines, comets, nanotechnology, antiques... I love learning about new things. I just have to make myself stop long enough to get the scene written. ;o)

Janet Johnson said...

I studied up on the history of Peanut Butter. Fascinating, really. :)

Jess said...

Like the previous poster, I read up on peanut butter- specifically peanut allergies...um...right now I'm learning more than the average person does about hippos :)

Fun post!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Yup, I've learned a lot more about rifles and hunting knives than I ever expected to LOL! Great post - unique!

Carol Kilgore said...

Sailing. Firefighting. Diamonds. Hydrogen. For starters.
Enjoy your weekend.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm learning all kinds of things. The most recent deals with drugs in sports. It was something I was interested in while working on my MSc in exercise physiology, but now I get to use that interest/knowledge in a novel. Of course things have changed, so I had to do some more up-to-date research. :D

DL Hammons said...

I can't help it, I just get the warm fuzzies anytime I'm mentioned in another bloggers post? Thanks for that!! I actually did some research to learn more about half-cocked for that very post. Apart from that I've learned more than I ever wanted to about the psychology of school shootings and domestic bio-terrorism. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know things about planes that would surprise people.

Old Kitty said...

I know of narrowboats and canals! And yes they feature heavily in my current wip!
:-)

Take care
x

Heather said...

By researching a particular character's interest I learned a lot of architecture that I otherwise would never have known. That's often the best part of writing for me, learning new things through research.

Su said...

Hmmm... can't think of anything. :( But I am a bit of a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles when it comes to useless trivia.

Matthew Rush said...

I read several books about Blacksmithing for a chapter in my novel that was about ... yep, forging a sword. The best book I found was The Craft of the Japanese Sword.

Zan Marie said...

Lydia, what a beautiful site you have! Love the colors and the floral design. I met you over on my site in the Shade. ; )

Colene Murphy said...

HA! I learned about medieval torture procedures (horrible!) for one novel. And had to research what, exactly, chloroform smelled like. I bet writers raise a lot of flags with the guys at Google...

Liza said...

I learned about head injuries, thanks to info you gave me!

anicagrey said...

Great question! Umm...tachyons. A tachyon is a hypothetical subatomic particle that moves faster than light. LOL. I needed it for my novel which involves time travel.

anicagrey said...

I also know A LOT about mythology from a book called... "Don't Know Much About Mythology" (I do now!) I know about the mythology from around the world. Now I've created my own mythology.

Melissa said...

I know a lot about weapons. Not guns or anything but all different types of swords, what they're good for. Other old style weapons like maces, clubs, spears, bows, chakrams, whips....and on and on.

My mom saw all my research on these weapons once...terrified the crap out of her. She was like... are you planning on killing someone. I don't think it helped when I answered yes. :P

Bossy Betty said...

Interesting! I love learning things like this! I repeat them at parties and am instantly popular.

lbdiamond said...

LOL, nice post!

Hmm, what have I learned??? I researched anemias for part of my dystopian, though I have to admit it was more of a refresher from med school...Not too many people have a Harrison's pocket guide though, I bet! ;)

Margo Benson said...

Lovely post - In my NaNo novel I had my female MC collect fine china cups and saucers. I had a glorious time on exquisite auction houses sites!

Tony Benson said...

Hi Lydia, nice to meet you, fellow crusader. Thanks for visiting my blog.

For what it's worth I recently had to figure out where my character could get shot in the torso (arms or legs wouldn't do) and be sufficently patched up the next day that he could pretend it hadn't happened. I put the question out and it turns out the shoulder is the best place. Most other places will lead to complications that just wouldn't heal like that.

It wasn't a flintlock gun, though, that shot him, it was a futuristic weapon that I invented.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I did a private investigator's course for my first book's research. I now know way more than I should about tracking people down via public records. 0_o

Edge of Your Seat Romance

M Pax said...

I researched stealth technology - probably got the NSA looking at me for that one. I researched how one could wash their hair in space.

Rachel Morgan said...

Hey!

Nice to have you along for the crusade :-)

xx R

J.L. Campbell said...

Interesting tidbit. Research does yield some really cool bits of information. Now I know the origin of flash-in-the-pan,I'm not likely to forget it.

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting post!

I know the techniques police use to break up crowds like using tear gas, rubber bullets, mounted officers, etc.

Jayne said...

Ah, great question Lydia. I love doing research, so I am always learning something knew. I'm in research mode right now and it's very exciting. In fact, I'm learning a bit about steel myself.
I did some research on sporting clays by actually getting out and shooting clay pigeons. Great fun and very educational.
Have a good weekend!

Scheherazade said...

Enjoyed visiting your blog, fellow crusader. I love the medical angle.

Angela Scott said...

My current WIP is set in the old west, so I've been researching my head off. I love old west slang and I've had to research guns and rifles from that time too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, crusader.

E.C. Smith said...

Boxing. I starting kick boxing because one of my character was big into it. And, I fell in love with the workout. Lots of fun! Big wave to a fellow crusader, Lydia!

Sarah said...

I've learned a lot about the politics of Czechoslovakia in 1942, metamorphic and igneous rocks native to the southern shores of Lake Superior, the civil war in El Salvador, and the contents of your average ambulance. It was so interesting to read everyone else's comments. Great post, Lydia.

runawaybride said...

I didn't know about both the usages..

Ciara said...

I think I know every architectural term for a Midieval castle. Research for a recent fantasy novel I just finished writing.

Susan Fields said...

I joined the Crusade too - should be fun!

I guess I now know more about picking locks than I ever would have hoped to know. Still doesn't mean I could do it, but I can hopefully at least write convincingly about it.

Deniz Bevan said...

Lovely to meet you fellow crusader! I'm guilty of chatting people up at parties if I find they know something I need for research, even if it's simply the fact that they happen to be native speakers of a language in one of my books. I've always been in love with Welsh and Scottish and all that - never thought I'd be hankering after learning Spanish, but my main character comes from Spain, and suddenly I want to visit that country first out of all others I haven't been to yet!

Claire Gregory said...

Hey Lydia- lovely to "meet" you too, fellow Crusader. I, too, am trying to fit 25 hours into every day, and it ain't easy.

I'm writing WWI fiction, and last year, while torturing one of my characters, made the mistake of Googling for information on geniturinary war wounds. Yikes! The pictures I ran across are still hiding in my brain right now. As a doc, you probably have a good idea why!

Munk said...

Tapetum lucidum

Donna Hole said...

I love research. I get lost in it for hours. But if I don't write it up immediately, I tend to forget the trivia I learned.

I guess my brain only has so much memory :)

......dhole

Rachna Chhabria said...

I like doing research especially for the features I write for the newspapers. I store these bits of information for future use, perhaps in books or stories.

The Words Crafter said...

I love doing research for any reason at all. Let's see: Dissociative Identity Disorder, dueling swords, light...related to MS. Non-related: caffeine withdrawal, early onset bi-polar disorder, autism....

WritingNut said...

Everytime I start doing research I somehow ending up spending hours reading all sort of interesting tidbits...some things not even related to my novel. Yup... I definitely get distracted way too easily.

Chris Phillips said...

Note to self: refrain from upsetting Lydia or end up in duel.

I did a lot of research about orbital patterns and the surface of the moon for a ms.

The Words Crafter said...

I hope you picked up the Write Hard award when you stopped by!!!!

Will Burke said...

Huh. I knew what half-cocked was, and not a hen who shares her husband. But I thought that "flash in the pan" had to do with photography from the same period, where the guy had his head under a towel and held up a pan...
Thanks for the comment and follow!

Hanny said...

My dad has a percussion-cap muzzle-loader. It's soo loud!
I've been learning a lot about the French Roma from the 1920'S and '30's for my manuscript. Very interesting!

Mary Mary said...

First, welcome to the Crusade! Second, it seems I've boggled many a mind over the fact that the KKK had such a large presence in the Midwest during their heyday in the 1920s. I was even told, by a supposed critiquer in a contest, that I didn't know how to research and that I needed to get my facts straight. Ha!

LTM said...

ew, fun stuff! I never knew what "flash in the pan" meant, but I was familiar w/"half cocked." Thanks, Lydia! :o) <3

Heather Taylor said...

I have a fascination with the Romanov family and have researched the lives of the family of Tsar Nicholas II for years. I also do research on notoriously famous serial killers which is hair-raising and likewise just as fascinating.

 
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