The weirdest research

Yes, dear reader, in order to create credible writing (even in fantasy) I have discovered that a writer sometimes have to delve into the weirdest research.

I once started (and until now have not ended, woe me) to write a detective story. In it someone was murdered. For this, I had to investigate all kinds of ways to murder someone, as I needed something that was out of the ordinary. I also had to look up how long an average DNA test takes, in order to create a credible part of the story around that.

For the short story “Lily and the Avenging Angel” I spent quite some time trying to find out about a poisonous frog whose poison would kill a person rather quickly. Morbid things, I agree.

Or for an older story (which I co-wrote with others, this was never published), I went through pains trying to find out details about intercontinental flights, in order to decide if someone would arrive at their destination in the morning, the evening, or perhaps in the middle of the night, and how long that flight would take.

For a story yet unseen  (it is still underway of becoming a proper book at this moment in time) I have counted the number of bridges of a particular American town that are spanning a river.

Other interesting areas of research are in languages. Sometimes I need a character from another country, so then there is the need to investigate names from that country. And perhaps there has to be the occasional word or two in that language as well, for which there are more ventures around the internet.

The last bit of research that I would like to tell you about, dear reader, is the kind that happens inside my head. There are surroundings and situations to research. Not only how to get my poor characters in there, but also how to get them out of there! And really, at times that is quite a challenge, especially when I have burnt the bridges behind them. Then the trick is to find material to build new bridges. And sometimes that takes a lot longer than looking at flight times on the internet…

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