Brinda Berry · writing advice

I’m an Expert

Whisper of Memory coverMy sister asked me a serious question after reading my YA fantasy, Whisper of Memory.

“Since when did you become an expert on paranormal investigations?” she asked. After seeing my shrug, she also wanted to know when I learned how to throw a knife.

Her belief that I actually had experience tracking down spirits or that I might have a wicked throwing arm made me very happy. Every author works hard to deliver believable scenes. Most of the exciting scenes in my novels require research.

My recently completed MS required a hidden code. Using a book on clandestine codes used throughout history,  I was able to find one that worked great for my story. Although I found that jewel in my son’s discarded book pile,  most of my research is done online.  The internet is full of so many great resources if you know where to look.

A couple of years ago, I wanted to learn about synesthesia.  The main character in my YA Whispering Woods series lives with this  neurological condition.

Here are things I did for research:

  • Listened to podcasts
  • Used the Google search engine
  • Joined a forum on the topic
  • Created a Google alert on synesthesia
  • Read blogs of individuals who have synesthesia
  • Visited websites (ie, website of the  American Synesthesia Association)
  • Watched YouTube videos of documentaries and individual testimonies
  • Looked on Amazon to see if there were non-fiction books listed

I didn’t get to interview anyone who lives with synesthesia, but I think that would be a great resource.  If you’re a writer, what do you recommend for research? Have you used any resources I’ve listed above?

BIO: Brinda lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.

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Whisper of Memory Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/PbZ_cjGsjA8
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13 thoughts on “I’m an Expert

  1. I’m glad to know someone else get way into research. I’ve done all of the above, with the exception of creating a Google alert which is genius. If I’m extremely interested in the topic, I often have to stop myself from researching any more in order to make progress on my MS. My favorite topics to research thus far have been Rhino poaching in Africa, human trafficking and Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana. None of the topics have been pretty, but all have been interesting and far more complex issues than I originally thought.

    1. Those are some riveting topics. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to read them. The human trafficking would be a tough one for me to read and then to leave behind when it’s time to write.

  2. I tend to get a little bogged down in research too. I think it’s a fascination/procrastination combo deal. Fabulous resources! Thanks for sharing them. 🙂

  3. I have two German characters in my WIP, so I found a German! Ha. He’s relocated here from Frankfurt and we have lunch once a month and he does translations for me so I can have real live working German in the book and he answers cultural questions. I also have a character who is a ‘Nam vet so I have dinner with another guy who just retired career army and listen to his war stories. I love interviewing people!

    1. I know you are a great investigator and interviewer. You would be great at asking the right questions. That’s terrific to have a the German man as a resource.

  4. In the past year I heavily used Youtube, especially since one of my WIPs is historical. I found a lot of information on the time period from there. I also read blogs and even looked on eBay to find items from that era.

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