Let’s Talk About Writing (pt. 3)

This could have gone into another series titled “Let’s Talk About Research”, but I think it fits more specifically in with writing, so it is going here. Basically, I’ma list a few things. The first set is gonna be those weird things you have to research as a writer that, if anyone were to read your search history, they might think you’re a serial killer, or just weird. (Which could be a fun game: “Writer or Murderer?”)


-How long does it take to bleed out from a gunshot wound?
-What percentage of land, on average, is arable?
-How much land does it take to produce crops per person?
-Dozenal systems in use today
-How effective is execution by elephant?
-Wampum as money
-How fast does light travel over a Planck length?
-How fast does sound travel through iron?
-Nutritional value of human meat
-Degrees Rankine versus Kelvin
-How much oxygen do humans absorb each breath?
-Linguistic typology
-Is being stabbed in the stomach often fatal?
-Velar nasal
-Where do black persimmons grow?
-How far can llamas spit?
-How to abduct someone
-What is the difference between Creole and Belgian Black marble?
-What is the average weight of an African Elephant?
-How many people can fit on a bus?
-Pressure needed to break sternum
-Friction coefficients of skin
-Proportions of the human body
-How to break someone’s neck with your bare hands
-Could a giant exist with Earth’s physics?
-Could a hand-sized person exist with Earth’s physics?
-Could dragons exist with Earth’s physics?
-How to kill someone with household objects



This second set is factoids and things you find while researching that are really inconvenient to writing, either because they mean you have to change story bits to be more realistic, or because sometimes physics ruins everything awesome! 😦


–Travel by foot is actually damn slow. Even though (medieval) armies were quite effective at marching long distances, it still took a long time to get anywhere. It’s even worse because I made my world so dang big. This flows into the other problem of having to keep track of how long a distance my main party has to walk to get to the city, and how long they’ve traveled, and how many more days it will take to get there. Shoulda just had them take the train.

–Torture doesn’t work. Which is great and all but if I am supposed to be accurate, I have to freaking research rapport based interrogation techniques which is a lot harder to capture in a book than something like “he threatened to stab the man in the hand”. In other words, “ugh”.

–People die really, really slowly if they aren’t hit in the brain. This is another accuracy thing that I could just ignore but, I like being realistic. Which means no one in my book gets stabbed in the stomach and dies in a few seconds. Also, I had to look up “How long does it take to die from a stab wound to the stomach” so that’s in my search history.

–Airships (Zeppelins, Blimps, and the like), however cool, are unreliable. In this case I ignored this fact and just created a world and culture that made airships logical and effective. So… eat that physics.


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