Monday, April 12, 2010

My brain has failed me

I'm going to have to do some research for Adventures in Zoology. I guess when you make your main character a wilderness survival expert with a Ph.D. in zoology (particularly dragons), eventually you're going to have to show her using some of her skills. I need to know what she could use as a cooking pot over an open fire if she does not actually have a cooking pot, tin can, canteen, or any other receptacle, nor are there leaves large enough to do the leaf bowl trick I learned about by reading My Side of the Mountain ten million times when I was a kid. I also need to research diseases of reptiles so when she's called upon to cure an infectious disease among the local dragons, she doesn't just stand there and scratch her butt.

I don't actually do a lot of research for my writing--and I'm not proud of that, but I write fantasy so I can usually just draw on my store of knowledge to come up with something I can modify to fit a magical world. Unfortunately, except for My Side of the Mountain, I haven't read much on wilderness survival (or if I have, not much of it stuck in my head) and I have no knowledge at all of reptile diseases to draw on. I guess it's time to hit the books--or Wikipedia, at least.

Meanwhile, spring is continuing apace. I have radishes up in the garden and I've transplanted some of the biggest pepper plants outside (against my better judgment, actually; it's warm now, but we could still get a late freeze). All the trees are outrageously green, flowers are blooming everywhere, my black car looks yellow-green with pollen, and I seem to have picked up my first bout of poison ivy of the year. Maybe I should take my laptop outside on Thursday, so I can research in the sunshine.

12 comments:

Aaron Polson said...

Not that I'm that fond of research, but it can be fun, right? Inspirational at least?

Maybe?

Jameson T. Caine said...

Sorry to hear about the poison ivy, but at least it's not as bad as what happened to a friend of mine who went hiking through the woods one day and stopped to answer nature's call...and wiped with the wrong handful of leaves. :0

Cate Gardner said...

This is why I write about idiots. :D

Natalie L. Sin said...

Look up websites for people who keep lizards as pets. You will learn more about their diseases than you ever wanted to know.

Also, WORST CASE SURVIVAL books are good for learning practical wilderness stuff : )

Alan W. Davidson said...

Sounds like you're going to have to start watching that series "Survivorman" (Les Stroud) on TV for advise on wilderness survival.

K.C. Shaw said...

Aaron--Oh, sure, if I don't think of it as research. I'm just reading an interesting book/website, not a useful one.

Jameson--OMGOMG, that is simply horrible. How could anyone not notice they were grabbing poison ivy leaves, anyway?

Cate--It sure would be easier to turn this character into a clueless noob-in-the-woods.

Natalie--I haven't even started looking into reptile diseases, and I'm already squicked. I bet they get some bad ones. I may have to just make my dragon disease up out of wholecloth.

Alan--I've seen parts of that show and I really dislike it. I don't know why.

Lertulo said...

Research? Just fire up netflix and watch a few survivorman episodes. I mean, mostly he whines about how he hasn't eaten in five days and it's raining, but sometimes he pulls off some nifty stunts.

Lertulo said...

Oh, BTW, as long as we're discussing poison ivy misuse: http://xkcd.com/443

Jamie Eyberg said...

poison ivy and dragons. Maybe you could give one a nasty case of dermatitis.

K.C. Shaw said...

Lertulo--That xkcd is hilarious! And sure makes me feel itchy.

Jamie--Hmm, you know, that's a good idea. I do know reptiles are prone to various icky skin ailments.

Anne Spollen said...

I get weirdly impatient with research, like: This is my writing time here, guys.

So I write about teenagers. I close the door to get away from them, then I write about them. It's like research through osmosis.

K.C. Shaw said...

"Leave me alone so I can write about the stuff that drives me crazy when you do it." :)