Hello, all! Welcome to this week's Thursday Thirteen!
As some of you may have noticed, last week, I missed posting. The reason for this is pretty simple: I was working on one of my WiPs. I've finally found myself "back in the groove" as it were, and nearly have one project finished, while another project is slightly less complete but approaching the story's peak, from whence it should all be downhilll from there (almost literally, in this case. Heh).
Anyway, in the process of wrangling these stories toward the goal of completion, I've had some time to think about the things writers do to research their stories. And I've been watching Castle reruns, which prompted my thoughts about research.
Anyhoo... I thought I'd share something on the subject of research this week. So please, allow me to present to you
13 Things I've Done in the Name of "Research"
1) When I was working on Ask Me if I'm Happy, I went back through train schedules from two years prior, to be sure they ran at the times I said they did.
2) I also did my best to be sure that the types of trains I mentioned were running at those times, on those days.
It's still up for sale, by the way. Wonder why?
3) I used real estate sites to help me envision the settings, too. The exterior of Jacopo's house in "Alternate Rialto" is based on this house in Venice, although I embellished it quite a bit. (For example, this house isn't on the Grand Canal, but the other side Jacopo's house is.)
4) Although the story was mostly completed by the time I took this picture, I did go to Bologna and take photos of the area for prompts in adding more detail to some scenes. This corner is very much the sort of place where Davide's home in Ask Me if I'm Happy would be.
Capesante. Scallops. Ick.
5) I exhaustively researched what the typical foods are in Venice for a single scene in "Alternate Rialto". I didn't sample them, however, because I'm not a big fan of seafood (and I recently learned that I'm mildly allergic to shellfish).
Thanks to Felyx at Wikimedia Commons for this photo.
6) I also spent quite a lot of time finding the right words in the Venet (Venetian) dialect for describing that meal and even the name of the restaurant. However, in the interest of research, I'm doing my best to find someone who speaks/understands Venet to ensure I got it right before I publish the book.
My current primary project, 27 Stages, has led me down quite the merry path, research-wise, too. For example:
7) I have actually been known to sit at my desk wearing a cycling cap. Of course, by writing this publically, I have just outed myself to my husband, whose cycling caps I have been wearing. Oops.
8) In much the same vein, I have this object close at hand all the time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this is, I should tell you it's a bottle cage, which is normally mounted on the bike frame.
9) Another cycling fetish (in the concrete sense) on my desk is this number, which is from a small, local race my hubby rode before we met.
10) In order to learn more about how cyclists think and prepare for different disciplines, I purchased the above video for information about time trialling. Lucky for me, it features my favorite cyclist (and current muse), time triallist extraordinaire Fabian Cancellara.
This made me so happy. The rubdown beforehand made me borderline hysterical.
11) Since this is the start of cycling season, I've been watching races every weekend on my computer or on the television and taking notes or writing scenes which come to mind while I watch. Some races have been more exciting than others, and some had me jumping around the house and laughing giddily afterwards. This summer, like last year and the year before, while I'm in the US, I'll be watching Le Tour de France every day in July from start to finish.
It's such a sacrifice, I tell you what... Heh.
12) My husband - who has got to be the most understanding and indulgent hubby EVER - bought me a two-year subscription to this magazine so I could have research come right to my door! I start getting anxious at the beginning of the month if it doesn't arrive on time. I mean, hey, I've got research to do, dammit!
Fabian's tweets are especially popular. Squee.
13) And finally, in the name of research, I got a Twitter account so I could stalk - er, follow cyclists who tweet as well as industry insiders, journalists and photographers. Which is why - to anyone who doesn't follow those same folks but does follow me - my tweets likely make absolutely no sense.
14) Another thing I've done in the name of research is to sit with a cycling jersey in my hands, considering the weight, the feel of the fabric, the sound it makes when it's zipped up, and so on and on.
And then I let my hubby go for his ride. LOL!
And there you go, 13 Things I've Done in the Name of "Research".
So I think I can say with confidence that I'll go to some lengths to be sure my stories are rich with realistic detail.
And also that they're as accurate as it's possible for me to make them.
I do try, anyway. Besides, most writers will agree that the devil is in the details.
Nicholas Roche, Irish cyclist.
Ciao for now!