I am trying to do some research on concussions for the next novel in the Beyond mystery series. However, besides client work and PR for Beyond Blood (which are part of my usual writing work days), I have had my time stolen thanks to dealing with computer snafus, cable TV reception problems and shovelling snow.
As a former journalist I know that research must be thorough. I also know that you won’t use most of the information you collect. However, accuracy is important, including when you are writing fiction. You don’t want to come across as a sloppy writer or worse, include inaccurate facts.
One of my characters will suffer a concussion. I’m not saying which character – if a regular one or one just in this book. I’m also not saying what causes the concussion, although I’m beginning to think I should use the sports injury angle as most of the concussion literature today deals with concussions that are sports injuries.
My novels also take place in the late 1990s, so I have to watch I keep knowledge, treatment and research studies in that time period. So far I’ve contacted a retired family doctor turned health writer and she in turn asked for contacts from her colleagues on a medical writers’ forum. She then forwarded their suggested medical experts in this field to me.
I have also done some research online but have more to do here, thanks to another writer I know who sent me a link. And I have again borrowed the library book on concussions (albeit sports injuries) that I had out previously, but only got partway through reading and making notes before the book had to be returned after nine weeks. Let’s hope this time I make it through the book. Perhaps I should buy it.
Money, however, is tight, partly because of all the snafus I’m encountering (see first paragraph).
But, hey, I’m a former journalist and “persistence” is my middle name. Or the “S” isn’t just “Sharon;” It also stands for “stubborn.”
And that’s what I have to be to do thorough research for my new novel.
And yes I have started writing (and rewriting it) and revising the outline.
That’s fodder for another blog post.
Sharon A. Crawford
Author of the Beyond book series. See http://www.samcraw.com and http://www.bluedenimpress.com for more info. Book at top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.
February 12, 2015 at 10:42 am
Sharon I am curious if you ever use Wikipedia to answer small questions when you are doing research? I just started working on a book set in 1932 Shanghai and I have been using Wikipedia as a launching point for big picture facts, such as dates and pop culture. Is that a slippery slope? Also do you stick to using the Toronto Public Library for your research or do you also use one of the universities? I am thinking about getting an a alumni card for UofT but curious as to your or others opinions on this.
Sharon A. Crawford
February 13, 2015 at 11:27 am
Yes I sometimes use Wikipedia but usually check other sources too. When I wrote health-related articles I used to either go online via U of T or go to their medical research centre. But this is going back 12 or more years. Since then when writing health articles for magazines (stopped doing that three years ago or so) I relied on Internet info and people sources – often one source led to another) Now, depending on what the research is I can use Toronto Public Library (reference library and their online databases for articles etc. on the subject included), Toronto Archives. Latter wouldn’t work for Shanghai but perhaps there is a website for Shanghai that gives some of its history and perhaps a contact or maybe a tourist site with a contact. Good luck.