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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Research Challenges

Writers need to know some strange stuff and answers aren't always easy to find. Like my character who wants to work in a museum and takes a job in a country torn by civil war to get leg up on her dream job. I want to know what kind of educational background she'd have. I found someone who has the exact job she wants, but his educational background wasn't posted.

There's my hero who's a professional surfer. Try finding out an average day in the life of a pro surfer or how much money they make a year. I've been trying off and on for a while now and I've had no luck.

I had a million questions about the Los Angeles Police Department that I couldn't get answers to online. I emailed the LAPD public relations office asking for help and never heard back. I figured they had to be used to goofy questions from writers, but maybe they get too many of those.

The other problem I sometimes run into is when I need to search for information from another country and it's a country that doesn't speak English as an official language. Translating page by page to try to figure out if what I need is on that site is torturous.

I always seem to get characters interested in things I know nothing about: Restoring cars, glass art, surfing, archaeology, Polynesian dance, sport fishing... well the list goes on and on and makes things challenging for me. I keep reminding myself that it could be worse. At least these topics aren't as bad as some of the stuff other writers have been stuck researching.