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Friday, August 03, 2007

Say What?

The last two mornings as I drove to work, I've been very cognizant of the bridges I drive over. I'm not scared, I don't hesitate, but I do think about it. Of course, it doesn't help that one of the electronic traffic alert signs announces that 35W is closed at a certain point. A reminder of what happened--as if we needed it.

I turned on coverage of the bridge collapse as soon as I got home from work yesterday and watched for hours. I'd intended to get all my email answered--I even spent nearly my whole lunch hour trying to get caught up--but I couldn't reply to anyone while I had the news on. I finally forced myself to turn on a baseball game and watch something happier, then I could get to email.

It was one of those nights where as soon as I thought I was done and could go to bed, something else that had to be handled would crop up. I didn't make it all the way through email, but I'm almost caught up.

Now for something completely different.

Do writers really believe that it's okay to do research from FICTIONAL sources???

I put my request for dragon information out on one of my writers' loops and half the people who replied (okay, it was only two, but still...) suggested I read fictional sources!!! =8-O

That stunned me. Absolutely, totally floored me. I thought it was basic, elementary knowledge that you never, ever used fictional work as the basis for any kind of research and yet these people suggested it as if everyone does it. What? Okay, some don't believe dragons are real and that everything about them is made up, but still this isn't right.

Do they not understand that 1) the author who wrote the fictional work might not have used reliable sources in her research or that she might not have researched at all? 2) that even if she did solid research that she might have changed things and/or made things up to fit her paranormal world? 3) that building off someone else's imagination is wrong?

If we'd done a research paper in school--yes, even on dragons--and tried to use a fictional novel as a source, we'd have received a failing grade. That doesn't change when you're an adult. Research should be from non-fictional sources ONLY and always verified with multiple sources.

I was so appalled that any writer at any point in their journey believes it's okay to use a novel for research. Gah!