As a writer, I need to research and look up things. Thank heavens for Google, for I can find both articles and images of what I need to learn about. Even though I write fantasy, I can’t just make up everything. If I have the facts right, then it adds verisimilitude to the story, and it doesn’t pull the reader out of the story. Quite often, I find interesting facts and tidbits that enrich my life, whether they end up in the story or not. I like learning and this helps me keep my mind stretching. At least I don’t write thrillers, then my browsing history could get me in trouble!
Some of the weird and interesting things I’ve researched are:
- The various types of plains grass; I learned that because of the root system they have a natural fire-retardant ability and can withstand wildfires.
- I needed to know what swamps look like and the types of plants and animals that can be found in them. I’ve lived either in the southwestern desert or along the southern coast of California, so I’ve never seen a swamp, but my character, Blazel, in Ancient Allies, is in a swamp. I needed to write those scenes so they’d be believable. While I described the swamp, I had a picture of one in front of me!
- The various stages a body goes through after death, such as when rigor mortis sets in. This is one of those interesting tidbits, that I eventually didn’t use. At least for now.
- I researched the workings of fire and the various types of fire. Did you know the hottest part of a flame is the base and it glows blue, while the cooler parts at the top glow orange or yellow?
- Since I’m not a heavy drinker, nor do I know any alcoholics, I needed to find out the alcohol withdrawal symptoms and their treatments, especially using herbal remedies for a character in
- The Malvers War Series is an epic fantasy set on a world that’s pre-industrial, and that uses horses for transportation. I’ve ridden horses a little, but that was a long time ago, so I’ve researched quite a bit about horses such as: how far they can travel in a day, how tall they are and how they are measured, the many colors and breeds, the various types of saddles and tack, and the various types of barding used in medieval times.
- To get the descriptions right for the Phengriff in Ancient Allies, I found pictures of various types of hawks such as: Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Redtail Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle, and Harris Hawk. The Ferruginous Hawk became my model for the character, Graak. Below is the picture that I used for him:
What are some of the weird and strange, or interesting things you’ve looked up on Google recently? I’d love to hear about them.