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Thread: Do you research much for your stories, both on Althanas and off?

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    Do you research much for your stories, both on Althanas and off?

    Do you research much for your stories, both on Althanas and off?

    So this question is aimed actually towards looking at getting an idea for my dissertation for information science, which I am attempting to find a topic for myself, by linking in creative writing.

    The subject I am looking at with this question is to see how much research writers do for their general creative writing.

    The other subject I am looking at to write my dissertation on is information literacy - does being a creative writer aid you in becoming more information literate? This is where you are able to learn information for yoruself, managing to search, compare, analyse and effectively use the wealth of information available to us currently (considering, internet usage etc).

    If you have any comments (or, indeed, questions) about these topics please let me know.
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    For Althanas stories, I don't do much research at all, except for occasionally referencing the wiki. This is essentially for two reasons; first of all, I've been reading fantasy for almost twenty years now, and writing it (specifically on Althanas) for more than ten years. This has given me a fairly vast amount of knowledge to draw upon when writing here. I used to do more research into, for example, historical cultures, but at this point I feel like I have enough working knowledge of history to just invent compelling fantasy.

    On the other hand, when I write more contemporary stuff off Althanas, I usually do at least a little research into things like careers, cities, maps, and hobbies which are important to the characters. For example, I wrote one story recently that revolved around a professional translator and a mixed martial artist. I'm a huge fan and former practitioner of MMA, so I didn't need to do much research there, however I did regularly interview a pro translator in order to get some insight into how her job typically worked, and what she liked doing in her spare time. I also tend to research things like sexual preferences/kinks when I'm writing erotica, again mostly by interviewing people about their own preferences.

    Personally I think the two genres that require the most research are science fiction and historical anything, and I don't write in those niches very often for that reason. I don't like feeling as though I have to research every word I write, but I do like influencing my work with facts and real opinions from real people.
    Last edited by Breaker; 01-23-2018 at 06:46 AM.
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    I don't do much conscious research. I do get ideas from watching YouTube a lot, but I don't actually do much research unless something actually requires it.
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    I haven't written here yet, but just on my soon coming character and his back story, I've done a lot of research. I love researching both on and off Althanas. For example, after spending some time reading the wiki pages to find out how my character might fit into this world, I spent additional time learning about conifer trees, serotiny, electromagnetism and hyperaccumulators because these subjects play a role in what I'm trying to do with my character. To me, it's fun and generates a lot of ideas.
    Last edited by Plight and Pyre; 01-23-2018 at 01:18 PM.

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    It depends on what I'm writing. For Althanas, it for high fantasy, I rarely do research, as, like Breaker, I've been reading fantasy for something like fifteen or sixteen years (and probably was before that too) so I have a basis to build on there. For Althanas, more often than not I'm just writing for fun so I don't need to - though a few times I have looked up things for Nevin's Alchemy, seeing if there was a real world plant that does this or that and using it if I can.


    For when I write urban fantasy, I do actually like doing some general research, looking into a city or a region's mythology to see if there's something contemporary that would be important. I agree with Breaker, in that Science and Historical Fiction are what will require a lot of research, but I would also add contemporary fiction, especially things revolving around specific fields, like the military or something. Horror might also require a bit of research, into a different category - more psychological study, to see what works as horror topics and tropes.
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    On the first subject, I am much of the same mind as Breaker. I used to do more general research in the past, but don't need to as often these days, the exception being whenever I want to include subjects I haven't written much about. A recent example would include looking into the boom-bust cycle of towns along the railroads as they expanded west during the gold rush, to more accurately portray a similar expansion happening along the developing railroads of Salvar. I've also recently looked into the dangers of mining in particular types of ground around the same time period, to orchestrate a realistic mine disaster. On Althanas, though, I still do at least cursory research fairly regularly, primarily to include established canon where possible, but sometimes just perusing for ideas. I've never had the time to look through the entire wiki, so I still regularly find interesting tidbits I never knew.

    The second subject is one I hadn't considered before, but I believe the answer is yes. My experience analyzing specific wording probably allows me to more effeciently phrase my searches to find the information I want easier, but I think the biggest difference writing has made is providing the motivation to find that information. When I first started writing, there were so many things I was unaware of that I wanted to portray well, that I spent a good deal of time researching every little detail I could make more realistic, and I think that sheer amount of experience looking things up made the biggest difference. For example, knowing which search terms are tertiary to shorten searches to include more results, i.e. changing 'The Fault In Our Stars' to 'Fault Our Stars,' is something I think you pick up on as you do more searches.
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    Thank you so much everyone for these amazing comments!! I've got some really good information from these on which to start my proposal. The whole dissertation is about 20k words, and I'll likely be creating some form of survey for it.
    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    --
    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.

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    *Takes huge breath, then starts rapidly typing*

    In my opinion, research isn't an option. It is a vital part of making a believable, good story. Maybe it's just my literal mind, but I believe research and accuracy is critical.

    Whether it be for lore, or science, or mentality, or whatever. Research can mean the world for a believable, solid story. At this point, all you need to do is be as historically and scientifically accurate as possible to write an original, non-cliched story... :P

    Are you setting a story in medieval Europe? Okay, what century? There's a difference between 1400's Europe and 1600's Europe. There was different technology, different lifestyles...

    There's a difference between glorified, Hollywoodized fantasy fighting and actual HEMA/ Japanese martial arts. Bows require a boat load of physical strength due to drawback weight. Rapiers are the same weight as arming swords, it's just that the weight is distributed differently. Leather armor wasn't common. Katana's are not indestructible because the iron were folded over so much. And by golly, ten ton buster swords are not only unrealistic, but dumb.

    It grits my nerves so much when somebody says their character has PTSD because their parents died or something, but show zero signs of the actual disorder. They angst a lot, but they carry little to none legit PTSD symptoms. I finally looked into the potential of Fel having PTSD. She only has fourteen symptoms out of twenty-two. Popular fiction portrays it like such and such, so it must be true? PTSD is leagues different than pop culture portrays it as. This goes for numerous other disorders as well. DID, OCD, ASD... Mental disorders are portrayed way off in fiction. It is not just inaccurate, but it is disrespectful towards the people who struggle with these disorders.

    It is crucial to research the lore of a world in RP-settings. It can mean so much to be accurate to the world your character is in. For example, in Salvar. It's a snowy, chilly place. And don't show a character using magic all willy nilly because magic is looked down upon there. Writing a dark elf in Raiaera or a middle class wealthy person in Lornius is out of place and out of touch.

    Then, of course, there's the other extreme in research - doing nothing but research and never actually writing. Heh. Guilty as charged... I've spent about three years now working on an off-site story. Stuck in the pre-writing, lore building, and researchresearchresearch. That mess'l never get 'ya anywhere! The time will come to close those fifteen browser tabs on what sixteen century buildings look like and just start writing.

    Whoa... I just wrote, like... A novel-essay.
    Last edited by Flamebird; 01-23-2018 at 10:00 PM.
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    I generally make it a rule to do a little digging into anything that I know I don't know enough about -- and for good reason too! Right now, I'm a young writer in most communities I end up sticking around in, so I've been physically present upon this planet for less years than half the people here have been into fantasy and roleplay stuff. I'm fully aware that my extent of knowing-the-stuff is very limited always capable of expanding. So if I see a topic that I want to know more about, fuck, I'm googling it. Granted, I'm not sure that I'm very good at the research process itself yet, but that's no excuse for not trying.

    Maybe I'll need to spend less time trying to learn stuff when I have enough already in my brain, but I'm not going to get there anytime soon. Maybe never!

    *Resolves to be the best knowledge-sponge!*

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    For me, I suppose it depends on the topic I'm writing about.

    When it came to writing here, I would wing just about everything. Writing fantasy gives you tremendous amounts of freedom, which I enjoyed greatly. I would look up bits of lore here and there when I wanted to incorporate long-established characters and regions, but just enough to lay the groundwork for something "believable" before adding my own little spin on it.

    But for some off-site writing I've been picking away at for a few months now, I have to do a lot of research revolving around local myths and the "lake" I live near (which is actually just a gigantic hole blown into the ground with dynamite in order to alleviate some flooding from the river every year). I also have to do some site visits for the town that the story will take place in. It's probably going to be a fair bit more work than I'm making it sound, but hey, I really like this particular idea, so I'm willing to put in the hours of research.

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