Unique Ways to Research

Originally, I was planning to come up with some important topic for this blog and have something super to say.  That, however, was before I ended up getting a painful injury (I didn’t break any bones or anything, but I’m in pain when I stand/sit/walk).  I haven’t been able to think about much else recently, so I figured I’d write about a topic I’ve had on the backburner for a while, so I don’t have to think up a new topic. xD

And that topic?


One thing every writer has to do is research.  Unless the writer is already well-versed in their topic, research takes up a large majority of your time.  This is easier for some then most, as crime, romance, and mystery authors—among others—have an infinite source of information to draw on, while sci-fi and fantasy writers—again among others—have a much harder time, as our worlds are often entirely fictional.  However, there are some ways that I’ve found to make doing research a bit more fun! 😀


One of my favorite ways to do research is to watch movies.  I’m a fantasy writer, and some of my favorite movies are fantasy movies (especially my favorites of all time, the Lord of the Rings movies).  I love watching movies in my genre for research because it gives me a chance to see how items were used and interacted with during that time period.  Most fantasy novels take place in a medieval-esque time period (with swords and bows and such), and we currently do not live in that sort of time.  Thus, I have to learn how people fought (with previously mentioned swords and bows), how they traveled, how their power structures worked, etc.  Even if you’re not writing fantasy, watching movies (or TV shows) can give you insight into how the genre you’re writing in works as well as ideas of things that you can incorporate into your own works.


Video games work just as well as movies for research.  For example, my favorite video game is currently Skyrim, which is also in the fantasy genre.  There are obviously things from Skyrim that will never appear in the Tarn series (as unfortunately I can’t have Cam and co. heal themselves after every fight by eating two hundred and seventy cabbages and a sweet roll), but the game allows me to get a feeling for combat (as first-person view lets you see everything going on in the fight) and how long on-foot travel can take, among other things.  Again, just like with movies, there’s a video game for every genre, and they can give suggestions and ideas.  I can’t speak for many authors (I know a number of writers play video games, but other than Susan Dennard playing Dragon Age (thanks Twitter) I have no clue what they play), but a friend of mine—one of the other founders of this group, Renee—based a group of main characters in her Dream Reapers series on the group of main characters in Final Fantasy XV and their interactions (and holy heck those boys are sarcastic).  I tend to enjoy playing video games a bit more than watching movies as research, as it allows me to try out things first-hand, but to each their own.


The last thing that I use for research that I know people tend to avoid (at least the people that I’ve interacted with fairly regularly) is actually YouTube.  I used it all the time to watch videos while I’m writing (I need some ambient noise while I write, and often watch random videos), but I didn’t use it for anything but that.  However, when I was working on the first book in my Tarn series, I asked for some help on the NaNoWriMo forums, as I’m writing main characters who fight with a hammer and a morning star and I didn’t know how to write combat with those sorts of weapons.  One person suggested the series “Combat” (I think that’s the name), which was an old History Network show where the host and his team learn how to fight with different unique weapons from different time periods.  After I found that channel, I started discovering more and more channels that I could watch for research, whether actual nonfiction channels like the History Channel, recreations of historical events, or clips from tv shows.  Since I often watch YouTube while I’m writing (full disclaimer-I’m watching YouTube while writing this), I’m able to do research while writing about while I’m writing about it (thank goodness I can touch type).  If you don’t mind noise while you type, YouTube is a great resource to find almost anything you’d want to know.

Sorry this is so short…I’ve been a bit busy due to work and home life and stuff, so I haven’t had a lot of time to write for the blog.  I’m getting freer (though I have a lot more shifts at work), though, so I’m hopefully going to be more involved!


Have a great day, and I’ll see you all later!


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