Friday, June 2, 2017

June Editor's Post by Claire Caldwell



Happy June, everyone, and happy book birthday to our fabulous June releases!

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the unexpected things I’ve learned from editing: not the particularities of prepositions or how to explain conflict and motivation (though all of that is important!), but the random bits of knowledge I’ve gained by working on all your stories.

For example, in one of the first books I ever edited, I discovered just how much the terms for sweet, fizzy drinks vary by region. Now, I could probably make a guess at where someone’s from based on whether they call it pop, soda, coke or a soft drink. Later, the beverage geography archive in my brain expanded when I had to look up liquor laws by state after a hero tried to buy whiskey in a grocery store. 

We have a lot of stories with babies, and not having kids myself, I often have to Google developmental milestones. Did anyone else know that the term for how babies move before crawling—according to the Mayo Clinic, at least—is “creeping”? I now have a hilarious mental image of babies hiding behind bushes, lurking in back alleys or peering suspiciously around corners.

Speaking of kids, a feverish infant in one manuscript prompted me to do a search for digital thermometers that only require a swipe of the forehead to read someone’s temperature. I had never heard of this! Google led me to a manufacturer’s website with an animated, Sims-like demo video that was genuinely one of the strangest and most delightful things I’ve seen on the Internet.

As some of you may know, I also edit the Executioner series, action-adventure books featuring Mack Bolan. When I started working at a romance publisher, I never thought I’d be researching gun specs and combat techniques! Sometimes I wonder what IT would think if they saw my search history while I was working on those stories…

I’m sure you’ve all come across some bizarre information in the course of your writing, or maybe research has led you down an unexpected internet rabbit hole. I’d love to hear more in the comments.
I’m off to Google the…romantic habits of rhinos, now. You’ll just have to keep reading Heartwarming books to find out why!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,
Claire


32 comments:

  1. I love this post! It always fascinates me to know what writers and editors have to research. I think the most recent rabbit trail I went down was the material of climbing wall holds. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a perfect example of what I'm talking about, Laurie--I've never thought about what material climbing holds are made out of, and now I'm so curious!

      Delete
  2. Rhinos? That's got to be Rula's book. I envy Africa research! Truly, with all our varied storylines your head has to be filled with great "stuff". For me, the research is some of the real fun of writing. It also takes me on explorations I never dreamed of!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always learn so much from your books, Catherine...and our conversations! :)

      Delete
    2. Chuckle chuckle ;)

      Catherine, you're one of the best at research and I've learned so much from your unforgettable books (and you).

      Delete
  3. My latest research was into Amish life, so oddly relaxing... and it made me want to clean my kitchen really badly. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, I say, take that unexpected kitchen-cleaning motivation where you can get it! ;)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for this fun way to start my day, Claire! All I can say is thank heaven for Google search. Now I'm about to look up rhino habits....I'm hooked already!

      Delete
    3. Glad you enjoyed the post, Janice! I know--what did we ever do before Google?

      Delete
    4. I have never wanted to clean my kitchen really badly.
      Now, I've wanted it to suddenly vanish and return as clean but no where in the visual is there me standing with a handrag.

      Delete
  4. Great post, Claire! Like you, and my fellow authors, I enjoy getting lost in research. I get so excited about what I learn even when only a fraction of it makes its way into the story. I did a ton of research abut cats for Summer at the Shore, particularly stray cats): (Which makes me want to adopt them all. Pretty sure I'll end up a crazy cat lady one day.) One of the most interesting facts I learned was that anemia due to flea infestation is one of the most serious conditions found in strays, especially those living in pet hoarding situations. Ugh. Sad. (That tidbit actually made it into the book.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I had no idea fleas could be that bad! We have several stray cats that come around our backyard because our neighbour leaves out food (don't get me started on the other animals it attracts...). Unfortunately we're not in a position to take any of them in, but we have nicknames for all for them and I feel quite fond/protective of the little kitty posse.

      Delete
  5. Rhino romance? Sounds fascinating. I love it when I learn something new in the middle of a great story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such an interesting post. As a reader I learn so much from reading books. I wind up researching tidbits I read about. Recently I researched heart ablation surgery that I read about in Catherine Lanigan's book, Sophie's Path. Now I'm about to read a historical book on the civil war and was refreshing my mind with research about the union army. Who says you can't learn from reading romance books. I learn so much, and continue to do so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree--great research and interesting information are part of the romance package!! Thanks for reading. :)

      Delete
  7. Hi, Claire. Each book I write takes me down new paths of research. For my current WIP, I've been finding out about being in a coma, so I can make this character's experience realistic. For Silver River Secrets, I needed to learn about classic cars. I never know what the next story may bring, but being a former librarian, the research part is always something I enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I love the way writing (and editing) opens you up to the world in ways you never expected.

      Delete
  8. Your comment on crawling/creeping made me smile. I don't know which term to use for my older son, but he scuttled backwards like a crab! I too love Google. It has transformed a writer's life and is great for double checking information. Congratulations to the June authors! I guess my favorite research topic was Formula One racing. Oh, and also bull riding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woah, crab-scuttling! That image is making me smile, too. :)

      Delete
  9. When I'm teaching a writing class or addressing a writers workshop, research is often listed as one of the top ten BLEHs of authors (right after the dreaded synopsis). I've always thought of it as a vacation of sorts, where I learn wild and wonderful things that lend legitimacy to my books...and give me endless conversation starters at parties! Definitely looking forward to reading the book that includes the romantic habits of rhinos! Enjoy your weekend, Claire!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree! I enjoy researching for my own writing, too. Though I have to admit, sometimes it's a way to procrastinate on the actual writing part, hehehe...

      Delete
    2. Ack...you can say that again! I'm procrastinating right now, by talking with counselors of former addicts and alcoholics. What am I learning? "All things in moderation, always!" LOL

      Delete
  10. Loved this post. In my other life as a ghostwriter, I delve into all kinds topics, many in the medical arena. One of the librarians dubbed me the "disease of the month" writer.And I know what Loree means about conversation starters, only sometimes people at parties tell me their symptoms and ask me what I think could be wrong. I've taken to reminding people I'm not actually a doctor--I only play one at the computer! But I must say, research is one of the best parts of the writer's life.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a fun Friday post! I started laughing out loud, Claire, when I read your last sentence about the romantic habits of rhinos ;). Heh heh.

    I will say that when I research Kenyan foods I always land on a dish that I think will make your mouth water during edits lol.

    I've learned so much from doing research for my books and I loved reading the comments about what others have learned. You edit such a variety of books that you must be an overflowing fountain of knowledge! I can see you as a Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire contestant going for the millions :)!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Researching hard cider for Deal of a Lifetime (September)led me to a local cidery. He had over 10 varieties. I sampled all 10 and it wasn't even noon. I sent my daughter a pic of the bar. She told me it was blurry. Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  13. One of my favorite things about reading and writing is learning more about the world! One of the books in my upcoming Rocky Mountain Cowboys series features a legally blind barrel racer and I enjoyed all of the research involved, including watching lots of video, listening to radio interviews with riders and looking at medical information about the rare genetic condition my heroine has. It certainly keeps us on our toes! Thanks for the great post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larry likes to say that my research for articles and books gives me JUST enough knowledge to keep conversations flowing at parties! LOL

      Delete
  14. Thanks for the interesting article! It must be fun to learn about so many unique and random factoids. I have never heard of the head-swipe thermometer either but what a cool invention. You never know when you'll end up in the trivia hot seat and can put these to good use! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. One of the things I learned when I started researching my K-9 trilogy is that the handlers and their police service dogs have one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement, far more so than SWAT teams, for example. I explain why in my books. :)

    Congratulations to Loree, Carol, Virginia and Patricia for their releases!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats to you, too, Kate, because having spent considerable time with SAR and SWAT types, I learned that they have a language all their own...and you did a stellar job of incorporating it into your story...without confusing readers!

      Delete
  16. I'm laughing at the bits from my stories I saw in your post!! Coke, pop, soda. I remember Googling a map for you! I love the things I have learned from writing books as well. It amazes me all the things I DON'T know - LOL!

    ReplyDelete