Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doing my research

As mentioned in my last post, I have a new story idea floating around in my head. It's a great idea. Huge! Massive! Enormous! Perhaps a touch out of control...

Since I'm a visual kind of gal, I like to see what other people have created with advancing computer graphics skills. I especially like the severe weather shows that depict the big one earthquake that leaves CA in the ocean. Or that show the nasty effects of what would happen to our planet if the earth's rotation slowed. Or worse, stopped. I love this kind of stuff--the more drastic the better!

Being the community supporter that I am, I started at my local library's website and struggled for the right magical combo of search terms to yield the bounty of inspiration I was certain lay just beyond my fingertips.

International Space Station
What do I look for?

Life on Earth? No, that makes no sense.

Post-apocalyptic Earth? No, it's not the apocalypse that will wreck havoc in my story.

Radical effects of global warming? Mmm, maybe. We're getting closer.

But then I started to explore living in space. We have an International Space Station, right? Surely, some cable channel has produced some show or series about the trials and tribulations of living in space? PBS? Discovery? BBC? Anyone?

Alas, when all else fails, turn to the blogosphere. I'm just starting my research/inspiration-semi-fact-finding mission, but I can't be the only one who does this.

Any of you writers look for visual research/inspiration before you start writing? Where do you look? More specifically, anyone know any shows about living in space? Or better yet, how the Earth is going to suffer from a massive environmental catastrophe, leaving us all relatively defenseless, just one notch above a Mad Max-esque future?

And finally, just because I'm still riding a little bit of a post-concert high, here's a pic of a little concert from a little band you may have heard of... Hello, U2 and your freaking awesome 360 tour. The show was on Saturday night here in lovely Minneapolis and while the show itself was crazy good, it reached a new level of awesome when the rains came. A few people ran for cover in the stadium concourse, but the rest of the 59K+ audience sang louder, clapped and whistled with wild frenzy, and the band played on. After my pic is a You Tube link of Sunday Bloody Sunday. The first ten seconds can give you an idea of just how much rain we had. (And no, that wasn't me taking the video or else y'all would've heard about it by now.)


  1. I love researching...I just have to be careful that it's not turning into procrastination!

    I saw U2 last December in Australia. Awesome tour!

  2. I'm a big fan of collecting "visual inspiration." I don't look for anything too complex, just images. I have a folder on my computer called "stuff to get me thinking" and it's got hundreds of images in there, each one that can get my wheels turning about possible scenes I could write, or even entire stories I could tell. When I'm stuck on something I sometimes go and look through them just to get the wheels turning. Even if none of them end up in my book per se, they're still an important part of the creative process.

  3. I don't always do it BEFORE I start writing, but I love "visual inspiration." For my ocean-based fantasy series, I toured and sailed on several different Tall Ships. It was amazing!

    Also, check out my latest blog entry - gave ya a blog award. Enjoy! http://nicole-singer.blogspot.com/2011/07/new-blogs-on-block.html

  4. Not a show about living in space, so it's not visual, but have you ever checked out Orson Scott Card, Trix? Check out Ender's Game - fabulous novel.

  5. @Jen--you know me too well. Procrastination in the name of research is my number one problem!

    @Jen #2--I *love* the idea of a folder on your desktop to get your creative wheels turning. Consider this idea happily stolen! :)

    @Nicole--Wow, tall ship tours! How cool! I wonder if they'd let me up to see the Int'l Space Stn under the guise of "research"? For free, of course. ;) Thank you for the blog award as well! I will get my post up shortly!

    @Mags--Funny you should ask about Orson Scott Card. I just happen to have Ender's Game upstairs on my TBR shelf. But this pesky 600+ pg doorstop (aka, Game of Thrones) is sucking my reading energy away.

  6. Have you seen "Voyage to the Planets"? It's a BBC mock-umentary. It's not about living in space, per see, but it has lots of good info about the hazards. And it's cool, too. I laughed, I cried. My students may not have enjoyed it so much... But I totally recommend it for a great intro to space health hazards.

  7. If you want a little real-world perspective on living in space, try "Packing for Mars" by Mary Roach. The writing is spectacular, and the author very clearly did her research.

  8. @Megan--Uh oh... a British mock-umentary? Did you cry because you were laughing, or because it was sad? Hmm... I am compelled. Thank you for the tip!

    @Scott--excellent! I keep hoping to be able to use Mars in my book, but the pesky "I know nothing about it" issue keeps cropping up. I'll check it out. Thank you!

  9. It wasn't a mock-umentary like Spinal Tap - although how awesome would that be? I'm just picturing crew members dancing around a tiny Sun or something. And now I'm crying from laughter! Alas, Voyage to the Planets is not like that and one of the cast ends up with cancer, a significant concern for modern long-tern space travel. But they have a whole website to support the movie with tons of info on space health hazards and speculative technology. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/spaceodyssey/

  10. "It wasn't a mock-umentary like Spinal Tap - although how awesome would that be?"

    All the space ship controls dial up to 11. LMAO! :) Okay, off to check the link...


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