Monday, June 13, 2011

In the Name of Research

I don’t know about you, but there are times—really awkward times—when I begin to question my methods as a writer.

Example: Research

For the most part, it’s a painless, solitary endeavor.  Dig through some musty, old library books, consult a few experts online, and maybe take in some people-watching at the mall. No big deal. (Aside from the creepy factor on the last one.) But what about practical research? Have you ever shadowed someone in your MC’s field?  Ever had to act things out to get the positioning down?

:Handcuffs: by ~Falling-Prophecies

If you have, and it's ever put you in an awkward spot, I feel your pain. -_- 

A few months ago, a delivery man showed up at my doorstep. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except for the fact that I didn't notice him. I'd missed the telltale warning-barks and the guy ninja-crept to my porch undetected.

The awkward part? I was handcuffed to a post in my living room at the time. (Nothing kinky, I swear!)

I’d spent the afternoon trying to gain insight into my MC’s struggle—and I did—but that was one hard fluster to play off. There's nothing quite like answering your door with red cuff-marks on your wrists. (Houdini, I am not.Thank goodness for quick release, “play” handcuffs!)


Anyway, what do you (or would you) do in the name of research? 

P.S.  Don't worry. He didn’t seem to notice my strange behavior. I just felt silly.
P.P.S. By silly, I mean ridiculously stupid. ;)


Linda said...

I haven't had to do anything too strange for research yet. When writing I tend to draw from the strange experiences I've already had on my own. Although I did spend a lot of time lying on the floor, peeking through the crack under the door so I would know how much my MC could see in a scene where she's snooping.

Carrie Butler said...

Ah, there's nothing quite like personal experience. It's probably one of the most unique (and readily available) resources of all.

Hah! That's getting into it!
Thanks for commenting, Linda! :)

Leah said...

I'm with Linda, nothing too strange just yet. Certainly nothing that rivals getting caught handcuffed to a post.

Unless you count having animated conversations with myself in order to figure out dialogue. In which case, I have no defense prepared.

Carrie Butler said...

Animated conversations with yourself? I'd say that's getting there, Leah. ;) Thanks for commenting!

Patrick said...

There were times when I was writing when I measured objects with a ruler I kept under my keyboard. It's a long story, but I did it for research.

Anyways, I could see how one would need to do these things or detach themselves from the world and put themselves in their books. It can give you that one key thought or chain of thoughts that you might not have seen looking on the outside in.

I have never been handcuffed. *knocks on wood* But I have had my fair share of awkward situations.

Carrie Butler said...

You're welcome to borrow my handcuffs, if the situation calls for it, Patrick. Of course, that might lead to another awkward situation. :P

I'm just teasing. :) Yes, I like how you put that. Sometimes we really do have to detach ourselves from the world.

Anonymous said...

I'll simply plead the Fifth here. And the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth as well. :)

Dee Fox said...


Carrie Butler said...

@Bryce: Hah! That's probably in all of our best interests. ;)

@Dee: Don't give me that look. I -know- what you've done for research. :P

Thanks for commenting, guys! I appreciate it. :)

Anonymous said...

I usually don't comment multiple times on a post. And honestly, this has nothing to do with the handcuffs.

You've, umm..., been tagged. Come on over to my blog to get the details.

Lisa said...

Ha! That's very funny...He might have come in through an open door (it happens, in smaller villages - the postman may place a parcel in your hallway if the door is unlocked, which it often is, in such small places) and actually seen you still handcuffed to the post...

Carrie Butler said...

Lisa, that's mildly terrifying! Haha I'm so glad that coming in unannounced is unheard of here. I can't even imagine trying to explain that. :) Thanks for stopping by!