Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Crazy Things We Do In The Name Of Research

Authors are constantly researching. It’s obvious that nonfiction writers do massive amounts of research, but even mystery authors have to dig up facts like bullet calibers, the nuances of poisons, and the physical appearance of a drowned person’s cadaver (these are just random examples).

That’s the big stuff - the pieces of data that must be accurate in order for the plot to move forward. The little stuff isn’t always so obvious, but may form the backdrop of a novel. Maggie may have to make an object using a new type of yarn, Diana may have had to become infinitely more flexible during yoga classes, Michele may have to visit countless vineyards (poor her, I know!) in order to describe a particular cabernet, Heather may have had to learn more about fertilizer than she ever wanted to know, and Deb is probably knee-deep in facts about beekeeping and honey-production as we speak.

As for myself, I’ve cooked dozens of recipes (some of which were bombs) to include in the pages of my supper club books, gone on fad diets, and taken exercise classes when I’d rather be laid out on the sofa watching a nice BBC series. I’ve read books on antique canes, how clocks run, Moses’ journey out of Egypt, and the history of commercial fishing in North Carolina. From one book to the next, I never know what I’ll be researching next.

Next week, on Thursday morning at 9 a.m., I will conduct the oddest research yet! And just between you and me, I’m a little nervous. Okay, I’m actually freaking out a bit! Why? Because I’m going to see a hypnotherapist! Indeed, by this time next week, I shall be prone on a therapist’s couch in a deep state of relaxation. Things will be suggested to me. Specifically, I’m asking to be cured of my sugar fix, so hopefully any subliminal messages will focus on that theme. Do I have an issue with sugar? Sure I do! And do you know who else has one? James Henry, the loveable, but pudgy hero of my supper club series.

For his sake and for the sake of the rest of the Flab Five, I’ve signed up for three sessions and, every evening for three weeks, I’ll to be listening to a CD that supports the therapy.

I hope I can relax. I hope I can trust the therapist. I hope I can use the experience to its full potential in The Vulgar Vegetarian. Oh, what I do in the name of my craft!

How about you? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever researched or done to land a job?

PRIZE ALERT: Next Thursday, I will pick a name from those commenting on this post. The winner will receive a $30 email gift card to Amazon (see? you'll qualify for free shipping this way!) Good luck, my friends!