Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Round Robin: Research!

The topic for this month's Round Robin: Research: How much do you do and does it bother you when you read something in a story that is inaccurate historically, socially, scientifically, etc.?

Ah, research. I loved doing research in high school, less so in college. Probably because I felt I had more interesting things to do with my evenings than be in the college library basement going through encyclopedias and Reader's… what was that called? Ah--The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. It was red.

Now with the Internet, things are a bit speedier and can certainly be more social, if less sure in their content. My second grade granddaughter had to do a research paper recently on the founders of Texas. No Internet allowed. Which is a good thing, but grandmother got to visit the local library for appropriate material. It's great to be a resource!

With my own research for my contemporary writing, I try to stick to what I know geographically. We visited Portland, Maine, and it is the setting for Ian's Image. We took two train trips across Australia and I have my third person POV character, Fletcher, do the same. A friend of mine owned a marina on Lake Texoma, the main setting of the Bone Cold--Alive series. If I don't know the parts of something, like a cello, I've found that children's books are the best source. I don't usually need the details, just the basics.

Does it bother me when something is inaccurate in a book I'm reading? If it's egregious, yes. I love Regencies, and I usually go along with the story. They'd have to be using the telephone for me to balk! OTOH, don't have a Southern character ask if a guest wants a pop or a soft drink. In the South, we ask if a guest would like a Coke, and then sort out which kind when answered in the affirmative.

In general, I'm a generous reader, less forgiving of editing and poor spelling (and that includes traditional publishing) than historical or social inaccuracies. Basically, tell me a good story and I'm yours.

And I hope you feel the same about me and mine.

Now, if you'd like difference takes on research, please check out the links for my fellow Round Robin-ers:

Margaret Fieland
Beverley Bateman
Skye Taylor
Rachael Kosinski
Heidi M. Thomas
Marci Baun
Anne Stenhouse
Helena Fairfax
Connie Vines
Fiona McGier
A.J. Maguire
Judith Copek
Lynn Crain
Rhobin Courtright


At 4:11 AM CDT, Blogger Anne Stenhouse said...

Hi Kay, Yes, it's interesting to see children react to being forbidden electronic help. they get used to it, though. Glad you go with the story. As an historical writer, I do worry that someone will spot an error despite strenuous efforts. Anne

At 10:15 AM CDT, Blogger Grapeshot/Odette said...

That train trip across Australia must have been so interesting. I've had characters repeat trips I've made, too. And if they're just visiting, they only see what a tourist sees, which is good if you don't know the area like the back of your hand. Great post.

At 5:41 AM CDT, Blogger Lynn Crain said...

Thanks for the reminder about the children's books...yes...those are always a good source of information. I think it's because the facts are put into terms anyone can understand. Good post!

At 11:12 AM CDT, Blogger Anthology Authors said...

I am not so forgiving. Well, I suppose I can be at times, but, for instance, I downloaded a historical romance. The story was set in medieval England. The heroine was fleeing her father because she didn't want an arranged marriage. So, she was fleeing to France to King Pierre's court. King Pierre? Oh, and she was riding her horse "hell bent for leather," a term not used until the mid 1800s. If it had been a paperback, it would've flown across the room. Instead, I deleted it immediately.

It's sad because I love historical romances.

I think smaller infractions might be okay, but something that big? No.


At 9:32 PM CDT, Blogger Fiona McGier said...

I didn't think any schools/teachers required students to research "the old-fashioned way" anymore. Kids use their phones to research anything and everything. The idea of having to,(gasp!) open a book, or look in a magazine is anathema to them. Libraries are cool places to use the internet if your phone needs recharging.


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