I spent first part of the evening happily typing away on Ashes and Spirits when my fingers froze over the keyboard. It wasn’t writer’s block. No, my muse is hard a work. It was one of those, “I don’t know this well enough” moments. I needed a type of bow.
Not being well versed in bows or archery, this led me to research. So I started looking up types of bows. Which led me to researching the two types I wanted. Which led me to things like string pads for the one type. And then to the sound of wooden shafted arrows flying through the air and the sound of bow strings when let loose (lots of You Tube videos), then to battle techniques of various conquering civilizations, then to various armors of said conquerors, to even a call to an expert in archery.
Hours spent researching, compiling more information than I will likely need, however I don’t know what all will come up. All the while the scene I’m preparing to write is building in my mind and my muse is going crazy.
I don’t think many readers realize the level of research that often goes into novels. Writers sit and just pound away at key board. Not so. Many, many hours are devoted to research. Sometimes crazy things that most people wouldn’t think would tie together. Sometimes dark things. Sometimes practical things. I imagine the research done by an author often confounds the NSA. It also confounds the search engines because the poor things have no idea what in the world authors with their random internet searches might actually want to see.
Where my writing may not have been as productive as I would have liked, the research part was. I love researching things for my writing and find it often expands on ideas and energizes my muse.
So when authors get things right in a book, it may seem like a small thing to the reader, but it represents hours of work for the author. Thankfully, like the actual writing, it’s something most of us enjoy.