No matter what I'm writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, it always requires a lot of research. Some of this research I do beforehand, but other research happens on the fly as I'm trying to figure out how to crack a scene or if I need some key facts to make a character sound like an expert on a particular subject. Right now I'm in the midst of the first draft of Brooms, book 2 in the Uncanny Icons Series. As I've mentioned before, the book ties together witches, lake monsters, and curling. It also takes place on Deep Bay, which is at the south end of Reindeer Lake, Saskatchewan.
The scene I'm writing currently takes place in a school library, where the resident cryptozoologist is trying to make a case for why people who categorically reject the existence of lake monsters are wrong. Hence, right now some of the browser tabs I have open include a link to spurious correlations, a Skeptical Inquirer article on lake monster lookalikes, a satellite map of Reindeer Lake, and the official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register. Yesterday, my tabs included a description of the book Peter Puck: Love That Hockey Game, a map that shows the mythical monsters that haunt the US, and an image search for aquatic dinosaurs.
This is one of the funnest aspects of writing. I never know where the story is going to take me next. It also makes me tremendously thankful for the Internet because virtually anything I need to know is at my fingertips.
And for you budding writers out there, I can't tell you how many times research has spurred a story idea or helped me solve a problem that I've been stuck on. Case in point: Brooms also involves the five elements, both western (earth, water, fire, air, spirit) and eastern versions (water, wood, fire, earth, metal). The most difficult element to incorporate into this story has been fire. However, while researching the type of wood typically used to create the handle for a witch's broom (it's ash, by the way), I happened to stumble across an article that noted that ash trees are among the most likely trees to be struck by lightning (due to their high water content). Bingo! Suddenly, I had a way to incorporate a version of fire (electricity) into my story in a way that's 100% logical (something I always try to do). Keep an eye out for how that enters the story close to the book's climax!
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