You want to know what distracted me from actual writing last night? For at least an hour? Non-Euclidean geometry. I didn't even know what that was before I started writing The Paladin, but once I learned it, I had to incorporate it. Then I changed a scene that made references to it, so I needed to do some double checking. And triple. And all the way down that Lovecraftian rabbit hole.
Madness inducing architecture aside, this is one of the more fun, yet frustrating parts of the writing process for me. You'd think I'd be bright enough to do all my research ahead of time (and I do!) but sometimes I need to refresh things. Sometimes that means double-checking a Bible verse in three different translations, sometimes that means watching YouTube videos on the horrors of Eldritch Abominations. Both equally valid and equally likely in my average research break.
I want to share a resource, if I may, that I've found indispensable. Tops of my list that will get me going for hours is TVTropes. Now, a lot of writers check this out for great stuff on characters, examining plot tropes, and remembering narrative structures, but did you know you can learn a CRAP TON about specific places in the world? Pick a county, a state, or a city and search TVTropes and it will tell you about the local climate, local jokes, what food is popular, the arguments people have and so many other thing that will give your story life and make it feel authentic to your setting.
I also check simple things on Google, Reddit, YouTube, and Wikipedia, of course, but there's a personal level to the information you get off TVTropes. Knowing that people on one side of a country you've never visited argue about a certain brand of soda with people on the opposite side is something that won't show up on the Wiki page. Knowing that people in a certain city hate brand name fast food and only eat at local diners is key information in bringing that city to life!
I do give an urgent warning, however. If you're supposed to be writing, limit your time to five minute sessions. TVTropes will consume your night if you let it. Be warned.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.