Dogged Research
by Annette McCleave on January 13th, 2009

Research is one of the best parts of being a writer—there’s just so much information out there, especially on the internet. I’ve been known to dive into a subject looking for a single fact only to surface many hours later. It’s a tendency I force myself to control during a first draft, or else I’d never finish.

Sometimes the information I find builds on my romantic notions—King Alexander III of Scotland died when he fell off his horse into a ravine during a storm, while racing to return to the side of his beautiful wife Yolande—and sometimes the information dashes my rose colored illusions—roughly six percent of all murders in the States are one spouse killing another.

Sometimes, the facts are just not as fun as the made up stuff. For example…the image of the trusty Saint Bernard dog rushing up the Swiss mountainside with a keg of brandy under its neck, going to the aid of stranded travelers is heart-warming and theoretically body-warming as well. Truth is the rescue dogs were real, but there was no keg of brandy. No keg at all. The image we’ve all come to know and love seems to have originated strictly from the imagination of an early painter. How sad is that?

st-bernardsm

Worse, it’s been proven that drinking alcohol in frigid temperatures may actually increase your chances of freezing to death, because it dilates your blood vessels and lets the heat escape faster. Darn. There goes my excuse for slinging a wineskin around my neck on ski trips. Water is far better for you, but not nearly as romantic. Sigh.

How about you? Do you find the internet addictive? Do you click from link to link and get lost for hours? Or do you find the information overwhelming and boring?

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14 comments to “Dogged Research”

  1. 1

    I am definitely addicted to the internet. I can surf for hours for nothing in particular. I have a bad habit of browsing on eBay for stuff to buy, stuff that I don’t need.


  2. 2

    LOL, Jane! I don’t shop a lot on the internet, except for books…but that adds up pretty quick, too.


  3. 3

    I find the internet really convenient and useful for the little tidbits of information I need, but for the real research nothing will ever replace books for me. Or maps. I love poring over maps.


  4. 4

    Nothing replaces books, I agree, Allison. I just find the ability to click on one link and then another can lead to many lost hours. :grin:


  5. 5

    Research is an enjoyable pastime. There is so much cool information out there. Once you start digging into history, there is so much more than is commonly learned. Looking into a topic can send you in directions you never imagined. I agree the internet is valuable, but nothing beats a book.


  6. 6

    I’m a total internet addict! No matter what kind of information I’m looking for, one quick search and it’s right there – love it.


  7. 7

    Yup, I get lost in the internet woods all the time — it’s much more fun than doing actual work!!


  8. 8

    I’m an internet addict! I can freely admit it! I can get sucked in sooooo fast!


  9. 9

    I can waste entire days surfing stuff that has nothing to do with my story. I call it research for the next book.


  10. 10

    Whew! I’m glad I’m not the only one!


  11. 11

    I am addicted to the internet. Sometimes I don’t get things done because of the internet. I can spend hours on it. I used to sew a lot and now I don’t seem to have the time to do it and its because I am spending why to much time on the internet.


  12. 12

    I am addicted to the internet. I love reading blogs, the news, etc.


  13. 13

    I am definitely addicted. I will start at one site or blog and get lost by going to story to story, site to site for a while.


  14. 14

    I don’t get lost and click and click. I do find the internet a wonderful place to find what I’m looking for, if I need information I click and find. I stay on track and get my info and move on.


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