I love research. I sometimes disappear down the rabbit hole for hours. I was actually looking for something else when I found the information about the Central Park Zoo Escape happening in November of 1874.
(An illustration that accompanied an 1893 article in Harper’s Weekly about the hoax.)
It actually changed my plans for Book Four of the series. I was originally going to have Jo and Alistair heading off to Ireland at the end of Book Three…but the Hoax was too fascinating not to work into the story somewhere. And it became a pivotal part of the action.
Happy accidents like this can add some interesting flavor to whatever you want to write.
Make sure you keep track of anything that might add color to your work. For example, this is my folder set up for the books:
And, within each of those top level folders are more bookmarks:
Some of the information may never make its way into a book, but it is far better to have things you don’t use than not have something at your fingertips that you wish you could remember.
And always be on the lookout for new things. For example, a friend suggested that I contact the Irish Consulate in my hometown, and the gentleman I spoke with gave me a lead to someone who was a historical personage in Ireland at the time, and a perfect character to have a cameo in the next book.
- Research — it’s fun!
- Bookmark — make sure you don’t lose track of the info you find.
- Keep your eyes and ears open — you never know where your next idea will come from.