• Barbara Conrey

Research



So here’s the thing about writing: Fiction frequently involves research. Hope I didn’t disappoint you. Make believe is not all make believe.


Some part of real is going to sneak in when your back is turned. It will, at least, if your story lives in the real world. If six little words in an eighty-five-thousand-word manuscript refer to the first quarter earnings of, say, the Tidy Toity Paper company, the figures better be correct. Assuming, of course, there really is a Tidy Toity Paper company.


But I didn’t write about toilet paper. I wrote about brain tumors. Of which, thankfully, I have no personal experience.


I wrote about a real type of brain tumor in a make-believe child. Which meant I needed to research my subject. And research, for me, always starts at the library. By the time the librarian checked out the six pediatric brain tumor books I had plopped on her counter, she refused to meet my gaze.


When I returned the books two-weeks later, she presented me with a two-pound box of Godiva chocolates. And then she walked away. Fast.


Along with speaking to doctors who were willing to spare a few moments to discuss brain tumors, I spent some time on the Internet. And now my browsing history includes videos of brain surgery. Which I actually watched. Well, to be honest, I closed my eyes at some of the yuckier parts. I’m not sure why you might want to know this, but you can purchase all the surgical implements needed to perform brain surgery. Sometimes at a sale price.


Because of my online research, two separate oncology organizations reached out to see if I was interested in receiving their monthly newsletters on cutting-edge (no pun intended) surgical procedures. I don’t know, maybe so I could put all those surgical tools to use if I ever decided to splurge and see how far I could stretch my Visa limit.


Along with brain tumors, I also researched the Rescue Freedom Project because one of the characters in my story rescues beagles. If you are unaware of the plight of laboratory animals, specifically beagles, please check out their site at https://rescuefreedomproject.org/


Reading fiction is that wonderful hobby many of us enjoy. Writing fiction is also a joy, just make sure you get your facts straight.

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