I have a great job. Really. Because as a part of my “official research,” I get to look up all kinds of crazy things and learn little things about a lot of different topics. I know, it’s “jack of all trades, master of none.” But I really don’t care, because I like knowing lots of things about a lot of things. It’s fun, and it’s absolutely essential in order to create my worlds and make them truly immersive, to make the characters real and the settings lifelike. And while I’m thinking of it, yay for things like Google and Wikipedia that can feed my randomness.
There are dozens of topics on my research list, and it gets longer every day, but here’s a few of the bigger ones that relate to my works in progress.
1) Herbology. For my perpetual work-in-progress and favorite character, Emera. One of the main things in this particular world that allows magic is the use of certain herbal substances. I get to make them up, because they’re magical, but adding in some real-life herbal concoctions could never go amiss. Plus I find this topic fascinating.
2) Mountain battle strategy. Again for Emera. The climactic end battle, one of the few things in this poor book that I am entirely sure about, happens in a mountainous area, so if I’m going to make this big fancy battle any good I figure I should know a few things about practical battle strategy. Considering the number of fights that my characters get into, this seems like a practical topic to be studying anyway, for all of my books.
3) Politically-motivated medieval/renaissance era poetry/songs. For Emera. This one makes me cackle just looking at it. Not at all necessary to the main story, but essential to the fact that I have written a short “historical” article about the country Onderal and how its people have made an art out of insulting the ruling class. It’s a world steeped in sarcastic, insolent, untamed tradition.
4) Pea deconstruction. For the Princess and the Pea. Main character Mariam has nothing but trouble when it comes to peas, and since my mom keeps looking at me askance when I describe how much trouble the poor princess has, I think a little research is in order as to how to mess up on shelling peas. One of these days I’m going to buy a back and see how many ways I can destroy them.
5) Arranged marriage protocol. Princess and the Pea. This one is going to just have to be a Wikipedia search for comparison purposes. Dowry or no dowry, average distance the brides traveled, what was typical in those situations, things like that. Should make my princess’s experience a bit more believable if I can supply a few more details like that.
6) Greek city-state politics. For Overlord Adam Winslow. I figure that my crazy world has a little in common with the Greeks, who had what seems to my currently unknowledgeable eye dozens of squabbling cities that had diverse ways of life, fought with each other all the time, and yet history somehow still marks them as the same culture. I’m curious how this happened, and if I can apply any of it to a world where they all fight with each other, but would never permit anyone from the outside to swoop in and take over.
7) What physical effects does stress have on a person. For Superhero’s Wife. By the end of the book, my two main characters will have been tiptoeing around each other for at least two months. My superhero will also be dealing with an outbreak of villainous activity. He’s tired, stressed, and doesn’t know which way is up, so I need to know what symptoms he’s going to be showing.
8) Do feathers stick to something that’s electrically charged?
It turns out, they do. And I have an electrically-powered superhero. Hee-hee.