Thursday, September 22, 2011

So What?



“The guiding question in research is ‘So what?’ 
Answer that question in every sentence and you will become a great scholar; 
answer it once a page in a ten page paper and you’ll write a good one.” 

Donald N. McCloskey


Research is on my mind. Why?

Reason number one: I'm currently teaching an online class for teens on how to write a research paper. They are in the thick of it, researching things like political corruption and women's 18th century fashions. I learn a lot from reading their papers.

Reason number two: The book that Susan J. Reinhardt and I are writing is historical fiction. I enjoy research. Well, usually. Sprinkling it accurately into fiction can be tricky. Chocolate helps. Just in case you wanted to know.

Reason number three: I am working on lessons for a new class at the Coffeehouse for Writers. Research is a key ingredient to a good set of lessons. But you knew that already.

Reason number four: Upcoming features at Write Now include interviews with the fabulously talented historical fiction authors Jody Hedlund and Sarah Sundin. They will be sharing a bit about their research. Oh, and they will be giving away a copy of their latest books! Stay tuned for details. 

Bottom line - research is an adventure. You never know what interesting things you'll find, you know? 

What's the most unusual thing you've ever come across in your research? What have you been researching lately?

Have a great weekend,
Karen

Image credit: Stock Exchange

37 comments :

  1. Researching the female mind was interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I spent 5 months researching the Soviet Union, Vietnam and the 50s for my political thriller Kiss of the Assassin. It was riveting and hard to know when to stop. I could've gone on and on.

    Hope you had fun.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel like I'm always researching things for fun and diversion. I need to focus more on things that are more applicable to my life endeavors.

    I enjoy doing research but I never cared too much for doing research papers (especially when they required footnotes and citations). Researching for fiction is a whole different game though. You want to get facts right but normally you aren't expected to cite anything or go into detail about it.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  4. I actually found "YOU" through researching my name, which led me to your blog, which led me to know you and add you to my "online buddies." lol

    Ah, research...it can indeed be fruitful. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I enjoyed researching for the book I am querying. It was fun and interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Alex,
    I bet.and I'll bet your wife says you have a few things to learn! lol

    Joylene,
    That sounds interesting! So if I throw you a question about all that, you'll have an answer, right?

    Lee,
    I'm with you. Don't like the kind where you have to cite it and all of that. Not as much fun!

    Jennifer,
    Hey I've wondered about that, so now I know! I've been following your articles for years and was thrilled to connect with you like this. I still want to get your autograph...:D

    Rachna,
    Wishing you the best with the query process! Keep us posted!

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good post Karen, I like your reasons for research :) I am currently researching 'grace'...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm currently researching the flora and fauna of Hampshire, England.

    Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Karen,
    I also think that "So what?" is a guiding question in life. When my husband or I get all irritated about something, I stop myself - or him - and ask "So what?" It puts that something in proper perspective. Often we get majorly upset over something relatively minor. Asking "So what" helps us realize that.
    Blessings,
    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Karen -

    I'm discovering the excitement of unearthing a tidbit that helps move our story forward. Remember when I found out they didn't use conjunctions in Colonial times?

    Thanks for the link, writer buddy!

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Karen! You are a busy girl! This is one of my favorite topics -in fact I have done a workshop on it. My favorite research find was information I gathered while visiting Charleston, SC. It was so great to actually be among the places I am writing about. Otherwise, I would say my most spectacular find while researching was a box of personal effects from WWII that my mom had kept. It doesnt have to just be information - it can be actual THINGS that become treasures for your manuscript.
    Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Marja,
    Thanks so much! Your research sounds interesting. Grace is a good topic!

    Susanne,
    That sounds like an interesting and fun topic! For your WIP? :)

    Susan P.,
    That's great advice, and a real perspective grabber! I need to remember that, thanks!

    Susan R.,
    Yes, it is exciting and actually has been rolling along better than I thought. We're on a roll! :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jan,
    Sounds like you know the research drill very well. And you are right, things fall into that category too! Hadn't thought of that initially! :)
    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  14. I learned that the skin of a snapping turtle makes for a good string on a bow for shooting arrows.

    Yes, I used that tidbit in one of my earlier books. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love research and the storylines or characters or plot events inspired by them!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lydia,
    Hey, that's a good one! I did not know that...:)

    Laura,
    There are so many dimensions to explore, aren't there? Fun stuff.

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hmm... I don't do a lot of conventional research for my novels, unless it's something I'm totally unfamiliar with. I've recently been researching arrowheads!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Still praying for wind at your backs, you and Susan. In fact, I was just thinking about that either last night or this morning before I read your post.

    If I could, I'd chuck some chocolate over there to help you out. Truly!

    Waving and grinning,

    Rhonda

    ReplyDelete
  19. Karen - I love the quote on top and am planning to share that with my grandson for his writing skills.

    Thanks. Sandie

    ReplyDelete
  20. I did some hands-on research to see if an emergency blanket would burn like I thought it would. All it did was melt, but it made some cool crackling sounds!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't do too much research for my books but I did interview a few policemen to get some of the lingo and laws down. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. And research can definitely take you down new avenues you never expected. It IS an adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Talli,
    Arrowheads, now there's an interesting subject. Is it for a future book?

    Rhonda,
    Thanks so much. As for chocolate - I know you would if you could. :D

    Sandie,
    Hope the quote inspires your grandson, if even only a little. :)

    Paul,
    Ah, see, and you wouldn't have known otherwise! The things we do for writing...

    Jennifer,
    I think that life and brainstorming are forms of research too, just more on inside of our heads. :)

    Laura,
    Absolutely! I think we get to experience things we might not otherwise.

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Karen,
    Fascinating.

    You are one busy writer.

    I can get lost in research, and I love your quote at the beginning of your post, especially the "so what" part.

    I look forward to reading what your guests have to say.
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh, great question! While researching an article on cats, I discovered that only domestic cats purr; cats in the wild don't. Now isn't that fun to know?

    Thanks for asking!
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  26. Karen:
    Doing research on the Holy Spirit. Reading a book by R.A. Torrey
    Doing research on Grant Writing. Basically, finding out what company or foundation I can contact.
    Did some research on love seats and Futon couches a little bit ago. Trying to get my writing room the way I want it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Donna,
    Yes, I guess it really needs to be in the forefront of our minds, otherwise we can get swamped. Glad you enjoyed the quote!

    Jen,
    I did not know that! So glad you shared. You just never know what you will find! :)

    Cecelia,
    Sounds like some interesting and varied research! I forget about that kind of research for our homes and such. Have fun!

    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  28. so what?

    like people in Indonesia if being asking?
    Lol

    ReplyDelete
  29. Vigorously nodding my head in agreement!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Research enriches our writing and adds a touch of reality to fiction, and it is something I need to do a whole lot more!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Riva'i,
    Thanks for adding your two cents!

    Tame Lion,
    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have some great research adventures!

    Lisa,
    Very nicely said! Can't do without it for some things. :)

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  32. You’ve been awarded the Versatile blogger award. You can pick up here http://highheelshotflashes.blogspot.com/2011/09/versatile-blogger-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. Debra,
    What a great weekend surprise! Thanks so much. :) You made me smile!
    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Karen,

    Interesting post. You're so busy with teaching, blogging and writing!

    I researched about the positive and negative effects of book reviews on book sales. And it was interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Nas Dean,
    Thank you! It's nice to meet you. Thanks for coming by! So what was your conclusion from the research? :)
    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  36. Karen,

    I research all the time--whether it's for my writing or to increase my knowledge of everything from important world matters to trivia.

    I used to work in a field where I researched all types of information daily. I enjoyed it because learning background and context can completely transform the way you view something.

    Researching people is my favorite type of research.

    Good luck with your research and your book. Be well!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Janette,
    That sounds like an interesting job! Yes, people research is a favorite of mine too. Thanks for coming by!
    Blessings,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!