Monday, July 6, 2009

It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

By Jenna Byrnes

Research can be so tedious. Long hours spent on the computer, checking and double checking facts.

I digress... which I do easily, when I'm researching online. It doesn't take much at all for me to wind up looking at pictures when I'm supposed to be checking facts. Not just those pictures. Lighthouses, inns, prisons, small towns, names -- I love looking through lists of names!

I think back to the olden days when a person had to go to the public library to look something up. I used to digress there, too, wandering up and down the aisles looking for titles that piqued my interest. I stumbled upon Go Ask Alice at the library, and I must have read it a dozen times or more. What that has to do with this post, I have no idea. My mind associates it with the library, I guess. I continue to digress, and yes, I like that word.

Before we had the library, most of my research was done in the set of encyclopedias my parents bought--or should I say, started to buy. The version in my house ended when JFK was president, so I had to guess about anything that happened after 1962-ish. The books were better than nothing, and I remember thinking my family was lucky to even have them.

The internet has made 'research' more accessible to the masses. Of course, you have to know what to believe (If it's on Wiki, it must be true?) And you have to know where to look. Occasionally when I get a little too technical with my keywords, I open up a whole nother world of stuff I might never have known existed. Sometimes, I use that back button on the browser and scoot right out of there. But sometimes, like a train wreck, I just have to look. Before I know it, my writing time is over, and not a lot has been accomplished.

Bottom line, research is not my favorite pastime. I do what I have to do, but try not to get mired down in the muck.



  1. Someone has to do it... and as you said the internet does make it a lot faster..

    As a reviewer the most annoying thing is finding something that does not match up - so in the long run it pays to get it right...

    Great post ... gave me a chuckle (Wiki)


  2. Good morning, EH!

    I know, I know, it pays to be vigilant, and it makes for a better story when the reader doesn't get hung up in small inconsistencies. I try to do my research, I really do. But sometimes, you know, it's a hard job!

    Thanks for stopping by, have a great week!

  3. Jenna,

    A lovely post, and some amazing research subjects there. Mind if I borrow one, or both? I'll return them in good shape, I promise. I have research too ya know!!

    Seriously, I so understand the falling into the train wreck scenario. I don't know how many times I've started on one thing and wound up mired in way too much information. When I was researching native language, I was completely fascinated for two entire days, then realized my deadline was fast approaching and got back to business.

    Have an awesome day!


  4. Hi Jude,

    Sure, you can borrow the research subjects. Just don't leave any marks if you can help, it, please. *G*

    I was the same way when I wrote the story about Hawaii. I think I said 'aloha' to everyone for three weeks, until I finally finished it. It's interesting to look some things up, it just takes an incredible amount of time!



  5. Hi Jenna
    You just knew I'd read anything labelled half nekkid men,didn't you! Good post. I can get so far off topic when researching that I can't remember what I was looking for. Glad to see I'm not the only one, and yes, I'm happy I can sit at home and browse the world.

  6. Mired down in the muck, huh? Some nice looking muck.

    Seriously though, one might consider that half naked men are a solution to almost any problem...!!


  7. Hi Anne,

    I think we're all the same- there's so much information out there, it's easy to go astray if we're not careful.

    Thanks for commenting!

  8. Hi Lisabet,

    Perhaps not always the solution, but a little salve never hurt anything, did it?


    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Yeah, that research can be a real bitch can't it? Especially when you're researching images for character and plot ideas and you come across certain naughty pictures...

    Oh, now *I* digress.



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