What is the werdest or coolest thing you’ve ever had to research for your writing?
Well, I already know that I’m on a Watch List somewhere because of these:
By the way, The How Dun It Book of Poisons is EXCELLENT. Definitely worth the investment to have this one in your writing library. Each page is filled with a poison, the symptoms and treatment as well as type of death. I strongly recommend against acquiring Assorted Nasties.
There are a few other odd books.
I will say that Death to Dust has got to be the hardest read of this particular set. It was written in the early/middle 1990’s and the sheer callousness of the American funeral industry towards the bereaved and the treatment of the dead body is, in a word, appalling. I can read dissections and autopsies all day long without a break but Death to Dust is challenging just to get through a single section a day. Not chapter, section. Although the sections dealing with other cultures handling of dead bodies is a lot easier to take.
I could point to my history books. They fill multiple shelves on several bookcases, so it’s not easy to show them all, but it is quite eclectic. And educational! There’s Viking, the FBI, general world history, Asia, Russia, Italy, New York, Art and Archaeology, Religion…There’s a lot that a few pictures just can’t catch.
I’ve watched countless Youtube videos regarding house fires, snow avalanches, what it’s like to get trapped in a house fire or avalanche, how magicians get out of straightjackets upside down, how Animal Rescues raise wild predator chicks for preparation to release them in the wild…
But the weirdest/coolest thing?
Hands down, it would have to be words and phrases. The etymology of them.
This initially came up while I was beginning research for my steampunks. I found myself looking up phrases and words I’d have the characters use, asking the same thing, over and over:
“When did this phrase/word come into popular usage? Would he really have said ‘sharp as a tack’ in 1897?’ When did ‘get a wiggle on’ make it’s first appearance? What about ‘bitch the pot?’ I know it was used, but would a New Yorker have used it? What about ‘lollygagging’? I know there really wasn’t much of a sex education class in the 1800’s, and I know that female genitalia didn’t receive medical names until relatively recently in history, but when was that? (turns out that “vagina” was taken as it’s literal meaning, “a sheath” until about 1908. At that time, the word was then officially associated with female anatomy)
Oh, and when I got my hands on the book “How the Irish Invented Slang”
– I swear to you, my inner nerd quivered with orgasmic fury.
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