I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I believe that one of the most entertaining aspects of being a writer is the research. As writers, our questions can sound suspicious to anyone who doesn’t know us. I know I’m showing my age here, but ‘back in my day’ we used to rely on card catalogs, encyclopedias, and the local librarian. Of course, when a person came face to face with a librarian they’d either chicken out or try to get creative. Thinking ‘if I ask for information on this benign subject, I’ll eventually come across the answer to my REAL question.’
Now, it’s all about the internet. It’s a little less embarrassing to ask a computer our questions.
Even while we are learning something new through our research, there’s always that niggling thought in the back of our heads. What list did I just end up on?! Too often, news articles written about crimes that have happened in the world include the phrase “officials saw in their browser history…” So, you can’t really blame writers for worrying that if they ever do even the slightest thing wrong, it’s their browser history that is going to send them to jail for the rest of their life!
It’s not just newbies to the fiction writing field who have this concern either. I follow many writers of a variety of genres on social media and it makes me laugh when I see a well-known writer with a career spanning decades complaining that they are afraid to research a topic.
Oddly, the list we end up on more than any other is an ad generator. We do a search for a potential murder weapon to be used in a story and before we know it, our fictional murder weapon is stalking us across every website we visit in the form of ads.
Now, I’m off to research Boho Crochet patterns, lockpicking tools, and maybe watch a cat video or two.