25 May 2013
Down the rabbit hole
I have one character who is into the paranormal, so I've been reading about UFOs and ghosts and Bigfoot. (And it's a good excuse to listen to episodes of Mysterious Universe.)
I was reminded in the midst of this research that research for any character can be a bit of a rabbit hole. For example, as I was doing research for this particular character, I was reading about encounters with spirits, which led me to reading about both near-death experiences and shadow people, and I ended up reading about UFOs and Men in Black (the men, not the movie).
Research can be that way sometimes. You start somewhere and the research leads you elsewhere. For this character, it's been helpful, but I've also found that it can be a bit of a distraction. I could spend a lot of time reading about things I'm interested in "for research," but not really doing anything productive for the story. Research can, in fact, be procrastination, even if you claim it's for the story.
One thing that helps me is to keep my character bio sheets handy. That way I can be aware of what specific areas I should be researching and keep from veering off too far in one direction or another.
Although, some of what I found out will be useful for other characters in the collection, so it wasn't all procrastination, so I guess it wasn't all rabbit hole research...!