Friday, July 14, 2017

A Thought About Research

I was in awe when I read Barbara's post on Wednesday about her working vacation. Reading about the time she spent on Georgian Bay doing research for her book reminded me of what I am never likely to do in the name of research. I love water, and I would happily have gone to Georgian Bay. But I would not have camped out. The only time I have ever slept in a tent was during basic training in the Army. I did not enjoy it. And the idea that I might wake up in a tent during a thunderstorm is an additional reason why my idea of "roughing it" is staying in a cabin. I don't like bugs. I don't like rattlesnakes. I worry about ticks.

Being reminded that I am not the outdoor type is depressing. I would love to plunge into research that takes me into the wilderness. In fact, I do field research. I go to my settings. I take photos and make notes. But since I write books and stories set in the past or the near-future, I am looking backward or imagining forward. I read other people's accounts of living through a flood or a hurricane. I watch news videos. I read geographic reports. I try to get as close as I can to the actual experience.

I have done experiments such as being locked in a car truck while tied up. I've visited a virtual reality lab.

What would happen if I challenged myself to more outdoor adventures?. Would that affect what I write about and how I write? I did go to Alaska on a cruise, and I allowed my traveling companion to talk me into white-water rafting and a helicopter ride to a glacier. . .but what I really need for the book I'm working on is to be aboard a train in a Pullman coach in 1939.


Charlotte Hinger said...

Ah yes. The trains. You're out of luck I think, Frankie

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Yes, I fear I am, Charlotte. If only, time travel.