Research for Writing

In the writing of juvenile fiction, I try to ad in little snippets of information that is based on fact. I try to do this in a way that kids won’t even notice it. this is hopefully where some of the creative writing I am always on about comes into play. I try to keep the reading fun, but give them a little knowledge of something cool. Sometimes it is merely a fact or two placed in the right location. For instance, when I was writing the book The Highway Man, I researched facts about stage coaches, how they were robbed, what was usually carried on them and so on Then throughout the book I put those little snippets of information into the story where they fit, such as the lock box. Carried on the stagecoach as a safe, the Wells Fargo Company had lock boxes to secure valuables.treasureboxmine

Research is a valuable tool if you know how to use it to your benefit. Another example of creative writing inspiration is to Google the phrase, This day in history. You can find multiple websites full of useful, and useless facts. Here is one I have frequented many times, http://www.onthisday.com/. There are also many creative ways you can use the information on these sites. Such as using the snippets from the pages to create a mad lib type short story.

  • 1964 1st true Pirate Radio station, Radio Caroline (England)
  • 1964Earthquake strikes Alaska, 8.4 on Richter scale, 118 die
  • 1964Great Train Robbers sentenced to a total of 307 years behind bars
  • 1964UN troops arrive in Cyprus

The Great Train Robbers have switched to piracy. The Pirates, captained by Slaw the Mangler, have hijacked a radio drone and figured out a way to control subsonic radio waves turning an innocent broadcast into a weapon of mass destruction. After their test on Alaska, an earthquake with an 8.4 magnitude, they are set to ransom the world. When deadlines are not met and the world laughs at their claims of terror, the Pirates unleash hell on the Major Cities starting with London. The only chance the world has of fighting back are immortals that have been locked in a UN prison for the last 307 years located underneath Cyprus.

Okay so maybe not the best slug line for a story, but look what I had to work with? Could you do better? Give it a try. Pick any day and take a few things and create a slug, or an actual short story. This can be great when you need that extra little writing inspiration, or maybe you just need a fun exercise to do. Maybe your brain is locked and in need of a writing prompt to get back in the game. However, you use it, there is almost always a creative way to use information. And if it helps readers learn something in the process, well I say that’s a victory.

Till next time, Write On!

D.B. Flint.

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