Welcome to our third year of Authors Answer! This is the first question of the new season, and we’re going strong. Last week’s question had a wonderful response and proved to be a very popular question. It was shared many times on Facebook and Twitter, and I think we have to thank our guest authors for that.
This week, we tackle a topic that makes us wish we had instant knowledge. While writing, we often have to do research. But there are some subjects where we wish we could have more knowledge to aid us in our writing.
We writers joke about things that we have to research, and how we hope the FBI never looks at our internet history. It’s true – I’ve done research on arrow wounds and stab wounds and swords and death. I’d love to have an extensive knowledge of all of those things – swords, knives, bows, guns, wounds, death, infection, illness, edible plants, hunting, building a fire, etc. (I write high fantasy and there’s a lot of woodsy and outdoorsy stuff.)
I’d love to have the brainpower to get more into the science end of sci-fi. I tend to hang out on the softer side but there are times when more a more in depth understanding of the information would could be useful to add more sci to my fi.
Monsters. Not that I don’t have a fair bit of knowledge in that field already thanks to the types of books/shows/movies I consume, but I could always learn more. My writing genres of preference are horror and fantasy, both of which are much more enjoyable with an interesting, well-written monster, so I’d love to learn everything there is to know about things that roar and shriek and otherwise go bump in the night. Plus, the research is fun. 🙂
There are lots of topics I actively look up and study in preparation for writing various scenes, but it’s all from an academic standpoint — I don’t plan to go climbing mountains even though I send my characters almost to the death-zone in a few scenes, and I won’t be headed to medical school despite the intense biological focus of some of my characters’ magic, nor will I be planning any real cities or growing any real crops. It’s always a piecemeal sort of investigation, so I just hope the details mesh well enough for people who understand the topics — that I’m not pulling them out of the story with bad information. Frankly my answer would have to be EVERY TOPIC!
I don’t think there’s just one topic. The children’s books I enjoy reading (and now writing) have a touch of truth to them. Chris Hadfield’s “The Darkest Dark” is about a child scared of the dark until he watches the moon landing on TV. He eventually grew up to be a commander on the Space Station just like its author. But I suppose if I had to pick it would be how to write realistic dialog.
The local geography of places I’ve never been. The laws of specific places as well.
I also don’t think it’s ever really possible to know so much about physics that knowing more wouldn’t be potentially useful.
Well, I’m always reading the latest in scientific developments. There are some interesting things happening out there.
I would like to read more philosophy, religion (any), and mysticism. I think that the science of the mind and the question of what is consciousness are fascinating.
Not a topic so much, but more of a skill and that skill would be how to research thoroughly and more efficiently.
It varies in that there’s invariably something I want to know more about, every time I start a new project. What always trips me up is what my characters do for a living. It’s the one thing people in any given profession will read about with a keen eye, and I hate making mistakes!
Right at this moment I would love to download a decade worth of research into Native American history, religion and customs directly into my brain. I’m daunted by what I don’t know, how much I need to know it for my work in progress, and finally how little time I have to do anything about it.
There’s something that’s lacking for me. I write both science fiction and fantasy. I’m confident in my ability to navigate through science, geography, politics, and culture. However, the thing that I would love to improve is my knowledge of military and battle tactics and terminology. Both genres I write in often feature battles, both individual and military. I want to know about large scale military battles and strategy, as well as hand to hand combat. I need to know more about weapons, as well. It would be extremely helpful.
How about you?
What would you like to know more about? It doesn’t matter if you’re an author or a reader. Let us know in the comments below.