Research…Will I ever like you?


Following on from my last post, which was two weeks ago, my fault, sorry, I have looked into buying a notice board. This may seem like a simple task but I don’t want to be buying notice boards all the time. This is necessary I can assure you. (I’m sure some of you are aware of this anyway.)

I also decided to dedicate a majority of last week to research. I have started to research certain parts of two of my stories, the story I’m currently writing which is my take on the vampire myth, The End Solution, and The Searcher’s Want, my hunter/searcher against demons for the fate of the world story I started, and finished recently, for NaNoWriMo.

For The End Solution, I’ve started by looking into the structure of the British Government. Specifically, who the Prime Minister has around him and why. I since discovered that he has around 21 members of parliament who act as cabinet ministers around him mainly amongst others. This has given me the headache of having to come up with possibly 10 new fully formed characters for this story as I don’t plan to need all of them in a complete capacity. And, along with having to write full character profiles for the ones already in the story, this is both bad and good. Bad, all that time it will take. Good, because I know I’ll enjoy it on many levels and it will help to advance the story greatly. Research…Will I ever like you?

For The Searcher’s Want, I decided to start the character profiles. Using the template I found in a post from writerdsnelson entitled ‘Profiling Blake’, I’ve discovered a lot about my characters and some things I can use to enhance their back stories, and create some conflict which I think the story needs, when I come to re-draft the story in the future. What I found out when doing this was some research, which I’d been neglecting about some of my characters, was sorely needed. For instance, one of my characters, the second oldest searcher named Abraham Smith, has been a searcher for 200 years. He became immortal at the age of 55 after being a searcher for 2 years. Now, this brings up all kinds of things when I’m writing about his history. Working out dates and things. It’s as exciting as it is frustrating. I think I’ve got the dates right, which I’m going to go over again just to be sure, to then find out I’ve missed one thing out. And I have to start all over again. Research…Will I ever like you?

I know I have to do research to make sure my story makes sense when it comes to location, dates and times of things, street names etc. But I think I’m just whining because it’s not as simple as I thought. I’m going to continue for the next week and I’m sure I’ll grow to like it. Here’s hoping anyway.

Well, to end this post and push me back into a research and character building frenzy, I’ll leave you with a question. How do you like to go about doing the research needed for any writing that you are about to do or are currently doing?





6 thoughts on “Research…Will I ever like you?

  1. I LIKE to do my research with y’actual physical books, but I often start with a wiki search to give me an overview, bearing in mind that wiki is only about 98% accurate [I’ve caught it out a few times]. I also tend to keep ring binders with ‘interesting stuff’ in pertaining to real characters I am likely to use, odd facts regarding the eras I write in, and things that spark plot bunnies even if only sub-plots. I also use some reliable blogs for research, but mostly it comes down to being surrounded by a pile of books. And the occasional frantic phone call or email to a friend who’s a specialist in a field….

    By the way, in your vampire research did you uncover that before the late 17th century that Vampires were not spoken of in England but were known as revenants?

    1. Hello Sarah

      The actual books idea is something I reckon I’ll do. I might try and get a collection to use for the future. Much like your collection.

      I’ve not done much actual research into vampires as my ‘vampire’ sucks a chemical out of humans, which is the chemical that in high doses will cause them to commit a really bad crime (murder, rape etc) and lets them back into society. Although, he may possibly do it just for fun. Not decided.
      But I might research further. Where did u find out about the none english speaking vampire’s?

      1. I came upon Revenants on a blog called the Foxheath history society, and went digging in an encyclopaedia for the word… I collect encyclopaedias, etymology dictionaries, dictionaries, phylaveries and so on, just because I love words and their origins. For quickness I went to the online etymology dictionary [which really isn’t bad] for a definition of the origin of Vampire:

        [i]1734, from French vampire or German Vampir (1732, in an account of Hungarian vampires), from Hungarian vampir, from Old Church Slavonic opiri (cf. Serbian vampir, Bulgarian vapir, Ukrainian uper), said by Slavic linguist Franc Miklošič to be ultimtely from Kazan Tatar ubyr “witch,” but Max Vasmer, an expert in this linguistic area, finds that phonetically doubtful. An Eastern European creature popularized in English by late 19c. gothic novels, however there are scattered English accounts of night-walking, blood-gorged, plague-spreading undead corpses from as far back as 1196. Applied 1774 by French biologist Buffon to a species of South American blood-sucking bat.[/i]

        They have revenant wrong, though, giving it as 18something, but I believe the word was used in earlier medieval writings. Possibly only in Latin though, from which it derives [a returner] in monkly manuscripts which would rather preclude it being in general use. There was a rather good BBC programme a few months ago on very early corpses displaying ritual to stop them rising again, I wish I’d taken notes…

        The legend of course arises from those unfortunates whose diagnosis of death was a trifle premature and who were given the rites of the dead while they were still alive. Add to that the physical symptoms of people suffering porphyria and boom! you have vampires.

      2. Holy smeg! That is awesome. I’m looking forward to more research now. I think a research library is something I need to build. The legends around these kinds of things are always filled with useful stuff. And they usually have smaller parts, like theorys or superstition, that can be adapted into something that could help a story along. I like research now. Thanks

      3. There’s a few BBC bits online about Romanian vampire legends that are still up… yes, I do have a rather good library, 5 generations of booklovers contributed to it, and a LOT of library sales, charity shops, jumble sales and boot sales, and even a few [gasp!] bought new… I consider it a failed birthday if I don’t get at least 4 books, 3 of them academic…
        oh, and I keep a ‘holy shit that’s interesting!’ notebook for random things that ‘might come in’.
        Bear in mind the husband and I have spent 30 years adding to and consolidating our family book collections… a ready reckoning, allowing 12 books to the foot, came up with a rough estimate of 10,000 books. The GREAT thing is we don’t ever need to wallpaper ever again, the decor is bookshelves.

      4. That is impressive. I do like looking through second hand book stalls and shops. I do need to get these places more often. I think I’ll a ten book library first, then move to 10, 000.

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