When I write, I constantly research. I may write fiction/fantasy, but I feel I should know the truth of the subject matter that I am focused on before I write or better still, alter. No matter how tiny or seemingly inconsequential the matter. Yes, I’m that annoying. I’m currently working on a picture book (over 500 words) and a pic book (only 500 words) for a contest entry. Yes, yes, children’s stories, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some fact in them. For example: In my children’s pic book, “Something Greater Than Fear”, my dear Ms. Figgs takes some spider web and applies it to the owl’s wound to stop the bleeding. That’s a fact. Also, spiders to me are fascinating yet they also freak me out. While these websites aren’t the original source I discovered it, they too support the fact. http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Amazing-Spider-Web-319037.html and http://www.livescience.com/1094-spider-silk-repair-human-ligaments.html . I always check more than two or three sources and always check the source itself.
So…did you know birds have the sense of smell, but some rely more on their eyes and sense of touch than smell? I was researching crows for this one. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412201724.htm and http://www.birdsandblooms.com/Birds/Summer/Can-Birds-Smell-or-Taste/ Also did you realize that only male crickets chirp? http://cricket-breeding.com/how-and-why-do-crickets-chirp/ Some seaweed…have air bladders in it to help it float. http://nature.ca/explore/di-ef/isap_e.cfm Also, ‘ginormous’ is actually a word despite my 2003 copy of Microsoft Word’s spell checker!
Also, a fun fact…I research any name that I give my characters. Some may be gaelic and some may come from what the story is centered around. For example, in Pell Shade, almost all of the names come from paper, writing tools, or ink. Mnemosyne was the Greek Goddess of Memory or Mother of the Muses. Awl Blott, well since he is the bad guy…Awl – a pointed instrument used for piercing small holes and Blott – take off the extra ‘t’ and you have a spot or stain, especially of ink on paper. I feel a name is just as important as the character. To quote Boingo from “Hoodwinked” :
“Dolph, tie up the brat; Liesel, hold the book; Vincent, get the truck; and Keith… darn it change your name, please. That’s not scary and I’m embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, ya know, OOOO Watch out for Keith!”