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.

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?

Is Big Brother watching my blog?

Several days ago, I checked my StatCounter page and saw that someone from The Department of Homeland Security had visited my blog. My heart skipped a beat … or ten. Incidents like that flip my paranoia switch to eleven.

Several days ago, I checked my StatCounter page and saw that someone from The Department of Homeland Security had visited my blog. My heart skipped a beat … or ten. Incidents like that flip my paranoia switch to eleven.

During the time I did research to write The Brevity of Roses, I checked out so many Farsi language forums, and websites and library books on Iranian history, life, and customs I feared the FBI or CIA had their eye on me, but why now?

I think I know the answer. In July, I published a post where I contemplated whether the love scenes in Brevity should have been more explicit. I used the word sex in the post and ever since then my blog has received far more than the usual number of hits from Middle Eastern IPs—and so has that particular post. After I noticed those anomalies, I checked each time a hit came from somewhere in the Middle East and verified that 90% of the time the suspect post was its destination.

Did the DHS note that unusual activity and flag my blog for investigation?  If so, I hope they were satisfied that I’m just a harmless little old lady writing fiction. Speaking of fiction, do you think I could get a story out of this?