Posts Tagged ‘Research’

We’re in Indiana visiting family but I wanted to write about something cool that happened before we left Alaska.

A couple days before leaving Alaska we took a hike on a trail that borders the back of our property. We wanted to check the remains of a fire that had burned just a half mile from our house while we were away on a river trip over the weekend. But before we got to the burn we saw this young bull moose just off the trail.


I was so focused on getting to the burn that my wife, Dana, had to tap my arm and say, “look,” or I would’ve missed him.

I was interested in the burn because the MC in the story I’m writing spends a lot of time in a place that has recently burned.

I stomped around in the burn, watching the way the ash puffed up from my shoes.

Then I inhaled deeply through my nose trying to experience the smell, and ended up in a sneezing fit.

I put my hand in the ash. It was still a little warm, and was neither as dirty nor as fine as the ash from my woodstove.

Hands-on research. It can’t be beat. You feel it, smell it, taste it, or hear it.

Last year I tried to set a space blanket on fire but all it did was crinkle and melt so I had to change that little detail in my story. I was hoping it’d burst into flames. The label said, “flammable.”

Have you done hands-on research for your stories? Did you find out anything unusual? Did you have to change your story based on your findings?


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