Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doing Unintentional Research

Sometimes through normal conversation you can do a lot of research into subjects that could, at some future time, aid you in your writing.  Writers should have a wide range or knowledge on many subjects in order to give each of their tales unique flavor.  Speculative fiction writers, who ask and answer theoretical questions through their prose, need to do research, either intentional or unintentional, in order to form their questions.

Recently, I was talking to my uncle who is a civil engineer.  It's a field I have minimal exposure to, other than through him.  I never talk to him specifically for the research, I just enjoy hearing about his work and so forth.  However, at the same time I try to keep some notes in my head of details that could help me write a character who is a civil engineer or write a plot that somehow ties in the field of civil engineering.  I got a really interesting idea for a fantasy story this last time I spoke with him, boiling down to a world with a god who acts as a sort of civil engineer with magic, allowing it in certain places at certain strengths or not at all in some places.

Any time you're learning about a topic you aren't overly familiar with you can be performing unintentional research that can benefit your writing.  Why not reuse some of the random facts you pick up on day to day?  You just might have a story worth of them.


  1. Ooh, I like this idea. This is why actually getting out from behind the computer and meeting people can be a good idea. Sometimes :)

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

    1. Thank you. The concept came to me suddenly at crunch time, which was nice. Yeah, I'm definitely a supporter of socializing.