Sunday, February 19, 2012

Research Pros and Cons

I mostly love doing research for a new book. The more material I find on the subject I'm researching, the more ideas I get for enriching the plot, subplots, and characters. It's great fun.

However...

There are drawbacks. The first and most obvious one is that it takes time away from actually writing. It's easy to get sucked in by research, especially if it's a topic with lots of information, and more so if that information comes in conflicting forms because so much of it is based on hypothesis. And opinion. Everybody has one. As a writer you have to make the hypothetical information you choose to work with right for your book.

At the end of the day you end up with mountains of data, reports, statistics, etc. It can be overwhelming.

This is on my mind right now as I research solar storms for my next story. There's so much speculation that it boggles the mind. And some of this stuff is downright scary! Did you know UV radiation can alter human DNA? Did you know space weather has an effect on the position of Earth's magnetic poles? Did you know our solar system has an equator of it's own that's moving and we're right in its path? This stuff boggles the mind. And did I mention that it's scary?

Of course I don't have to use all the science I find, but I need facts to support my plot. What are the dangers of a solar storm? Far more than one would think. The potential danger of a really big one could destroy the planet in less literal ways than, say, a nuclear war. It's fascinating. And awe-inspiring.

This is how I spent most of last week, and my research isn't finished yet. I'm really excited about what I discovered. This book is going to be super fun to write.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Sorry but I'm inclined to worry. This whole being in the way of the solar system thing; Is something bad going happen?

Karen Duvall said...

Well, Anon, to be honest, I'm worried, too. But as i said in my post, it's all scientific speculation. No one knows for sure about any of this, but researchers are pointing at various signs that indicate a cataclysmic event in the not so distant future. It's getting more attention these days due to all the hype about the Mayan Calender coming to an end in December of 2012, which is when the world will supposedly end as well. I don't believe it will, but I do think we should all pay attention the the messages our planet is sending us. The world may not be ending, but it is changing.