Jumping back into blogging now that my finger has mostly healed. It’s kinda weird typing since the tip of my left middle finger is still partially numb which means I can’t always tell which key I’m touching. So I apologize in advance for any typos I don’t catch… please call me out on them! 🙂
Anyway, a while back I asked my FB friends for some ideas, and this one is from friend and fellow writer Tamara: “I’d love to hear asides about your research into horror and paranormal topics.”
OK, so I’m going to fess up right away. I. LOVE. RESEARCH! I do. One friend in particular (you know who you are) teases me about it occasionally. And yet asks me to help with, you guessed it, research for his stories. I’m just that good.
Anyway, it’s one of my favorite parts of starting any new story. As a reminder, I write mostly Urban Fantasy and Magical Realism (both sub-genres of general fantasy), and therefore can mix in a lot of fantastical stuff. But I like to keep things as grounded in reality as I can. I usually have a vague idea of a storyline and location – and location is key here – and start writing, researching along the way as I come to places in the story to drop a monster, or spell, or whatever I might need. Finding just the perfect monster, ghost, urban legend seriously makes me giddy,
I’ve also stumbled something so amazing that I moved the story to said location just so I could use it (say HELL-OOO hodag)

Hodag, hodag, hodag

The interwebs are incredibly handy for all kinds of information, but you have to be wary. I often start with www.wikipedia.com for basic ideas, especially if I have a country of origin in mind for said monster. Or maybe a specific attribute. But I do take what I read there with a large grain of blessed salt (keeps the ghosts away). It’s still a good starting place, though, and leads me to other websites. Given that these are mythological creatures, it’s sometimes hard to find consistency, but it also allows me to pick and choose the bits and pieces that I like best. Hey, it is creative writing after all, and fiction!
I also have a library of awesome books. Yes, real books. I use them more than the web. My favorite pages are marked with paperclips. I used a lot of paperclips while researching my current WIP Almost Like Magic. SO MANY COOL MONSTERS! I obviously couldn’t use them all in one novel, but they had to be marked nonetheless. You know, for future stories.
My two favorites are:
But I seriously have a whole bookshelf of just research books. Some on very specific creatures, like faeries or demons, and others on more general monsters from around the world. And yes, I’ve read them all.
(An aside here: I have nothing against ebooks. Love them actually. For novels. But for research I need to be able to mark the pages and flip between them quickly. And you just can’t do that on a kindle. End aside.)
I did mention that I love research, right? So, you know who to contact now for ideas next time you’re stuck!
So, happy writing and reading to you all. I’m hoping to get back into reworking the end of ALM later this week now that I have use of my finger again.
Have a cool book you think I should check out? Let me know. I can always squeeze another one onto that bookshelf.