Research is a funny thing. I have my characters wandering into a truck stop roadhouse in order to get into some trouble (like one does at these places when one is in a book,) and I wanted to have a good idea of what the place looked like inside to give myself a decent guideline when I fleshed out a description. So I went over to my trusty Google page and searched out ‘roadhouse.’
You guys, I appreciate Patrick Swayze as much as the next person, but seriously? The whole page just movie links?
I also discovered that Country Rap is a thing. I’m kinda scared, frankly, but hey. If it floats your boat, I’m happy for you! The thing is that while I’m looking up details for my stories, I learn all sorts of weird things. The history of blood transfusions is fascinating for example. Did you know that blood donation and transfusions have a history going back at least as far as 1665? Granted there were animals involved, and it sounds more than a little shady, but a lot of things from that century sound shady to me…
Other fun things I’ve learned are just little tidbits: a few new (to me) monsters like the emandwa who are household spirits that protect women and assist with fertility. I’ve read a few timelines of World War 2 and gotten sucked into some amazing stories from it. I’ve skated over some Japanese temple history and I spent about a week reading every story about Coyote I could get my hands on.
Not everything I research makes it into my writing, of course, but without some sort of foundation to build my worlds upon, and if I fail at that, then it shows pretty clearly I think. And these little details help me make sure that my story hangs together and can survive a bit of a beating if it needs to. Also, I learn some of the neatest things! What odd rabbit hole have you fallen down lately?