Research, revision, and redecorating

I don’t know everything, and sometimes, I realize I don’t really know what I thought I knew. So if I want to write believable fiction, I have to research. A recent blog post by Christi Craig started me thinking about what I’ve researched lately.

  • Common sayings using the phrase quicker than or faster than. I didn’t want to use a cliché, but I hoped reading some would help me come up with something original. Still hoping.
  • Modern techniques for inscribing grave markers. I did this late at night after I saw the movie Woman in Black and had to stop because I started imagining ghostly sounds in my house.
  • How alcoholism affects the kidneys. I need to know if a man only two years sober can donate a kidney to a family member.
  • The tobacco growing process in the 1960s. I eventually found my way to YouTube where I listened to people talk about how the process has changed since they were young(er).

Those topics were research for three different projects, but now I’m looking at them and see that I could fit them all in one work. But no. I do not need the distraction of another story idea.

I’ve finally wrangled a few people into giving me feedback on some short stories I want to include in a collection. Then I’ll have to revise/edit them. Sometimes that’s easy, but other times my brain refuses to deal with it and I have to back away for a while. I know I could ruin the story if I force it, so I’ll trust my Muse to sort it out and get back to me.

A non-writing note. I don’t know how you other WordPress bloggers respond to your comments, but I use my Dashboard exclusively. I try to avoid looking at my blog too much because when I do, I want to fiddle with it. In the early days of this blog, I changed themes every couple of weeks, which I’m sure was a bit disconcerting to my new followers. Then I realized that if I didn’t actually see my blog’s “face”, I left it alone. Recently, when I uploaded my new book cover and saw it on my blog, I got that old urge to give it a whole new look.

The problem is, even with dozens of theme choices, none of them is quite what I want. So I’m using one of my private unused blogs to audition each possible choice to see what comes closest. Anyway, don’t be surprised if you come here and fail to recognize the place one day soon.

Hmmm, I guess that’s a kind of research too. What about you? Have you researched anything lately?

24 thoughts on “Research, revision, and redecorating

  1. Brilliant idea – using a private blog to try out themes. You never know where your widgets are going to go, or even if they’re going go. Think I might start covert auditions of my own.
    And the research? Get a load of this:
    When did it become illegal to beat your wife?
    What sort of jail sentence would you get in 1972 for running a prostitution/escort service?
    What was on TV on Christmas Day in 1971 at 11.30 a.m?


    1. Whoa, Suzanne, now I’m wondering what you’re writing! 🙂

      Yes, the results with widgets is unpredictable when you change themes. It’s better to be forewarned and ready to quickly put things back in order.


      1. Aha – that’s my WIP, or NIP as I prefer to title it. Lots of little WIPs flocking around, leaving home, some of them coming back again; one big lunk of a NIP that will only go out once. Probably with a hefty indie boot behind it. 🙂


          1. It’s my Novel in Progress. Ahem – there, I’ve said it! I suppose that makes my shorts and flash items SHIPs and FLIPs. Mercifully, there will be no PIPs (you’ve seen my poetry), and I’ve seen what actors and directors can do to SCRIPs so there won’t be any of those either. Anyway, there’s enough to fit in before I RIP.


  2. By its nature, research generally contains an element of hit-and-miss. You may find the answer to the question being asked, or find an answer to a different question. At least, that’s what the scientific side of me would say.

    Effect of alcoholism on kidneys – the preference is not to accept organ donation from alcohol or drug addicts for obvious reasons. Usually, there is some level of organ damage resulting from the addiction.

    Non-writing note – I generally do not reply to comments left at my blog, not unless a specific question is asked. When a specific question is asked, I usually reply via email. Regarding the theme, I have changed it twice in the last couple months in pursuit of a “cleaner” appearance. I think I have found it.


    1. Well, David, the alcohol/transplant thing definitely puts a crimp in my plans. 😦 I’ll have to find a less drastic way to make happen what I need to happen. More research.

      For me, replying to comments is the fun of blogging, but then that’s just the kind of blog I have.


  3. Research for me involves reading all the interviews I can find with one particular singer, so I can understand my Julian’s rock persona better. However, previous research has involved:
    1 – Evolution and how different species evolved, as well as the theory of natural selection, fortunately, I studied all this before and was quite familiar with most of it.
    2 – Psychic Abilities
    4 – Could vampires exist for real
    5 – Celtic history.
    6 – London history
    7 – Events, songs and even the weather for 1982…

    plus watching anything with Iggy Pop, David Bowie and a few others…


          1. If they had the right adaptions in their digestive system, so you know, a mutant human, and eternally?, well only if certain cells continued to renew themselves, so they’d never age.


          2. Yes, telomeres it is, and yes, you’re right about the DNA and his maternal line, well, yes, he knows it, but you see, he doesn’t understand science, and so we don’t deal with any of this, until much later. I studied him once, thoroughly and even thought of naming another Homo Sapiens species after him 😉


  4. Hi, Linda. You know, I’m working on something to do with ghosts and will need to do some very dark research very soon that I am not looking forward to at all. Much like you wrote, one can really start to head down a path that is very uncomfortable. During the writing of this new novel, I have literally given myself a chill more than once. Wait until that dark research starts? Can you see why I have been putting that off for so long already? Yikes!



    1. Since you write horror, Jimmy, giving yourself chills must mean you’re writing well. 😉 For you, I can imagine your discomfort researching some of the things you do. I hope your research goes quickly.


  5. It must be that time of year. I am doing a lot of research lately too. Most of it is on places in England where Amanda is visiting during her next adventure. I have been to all of these places but it has been awhile and the research is reminding me of things I forgot. It is amazing how you can get one line out of 2 or 3 hours of research!


    1. Ha, you’re right, Darlene. Three hours can result in one good line. 😉 But I’m sure you enjoy calling up your memories. Sometimes I get sidetracked from my original research topic, which is not necessarily productive at the time, but you never know how it might pop up in a future work.


  6. I’m guilty of changing my blog themes more often than one should.

    As for research, I spent a vast amount of time researching the effects of radioactive exposure and other related topics for a Post-Ap novel that sits in the outline stage. It was quite depressing and produced some fairly dark poetry throughout the process. All I can say is I’m glad the story’s plot and subplots are more tied to mankinds determination to survive than on the destruction that brings about my protags change.

    However, lately I’ve been writing a few grim-styled fairytales and my research has only stretched as far as the need to observe the wackos that all-to-often surround me.


  7. Just about every day I’m researching something on line for my work. And often it leads to such interesting places, that leads to ideas and notions I would have never entertained otherwise!

    hope it all goes well and falls into place nice and smooth 🙂


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