Thursday, February 9, 2017

#MFRWAuthor-to-Author: Research... Necessary but Time Consuming @DMBurton72

Have you ever started researching a topic only to discover you’ve spent the better part of an hour going from one site to another to another? Those pesky side links.

In a HubSpot (a marketing site) article about bad habits, the author wrote about Black Hole Browsing. Although I’d never heard of that term, I knew exactly what it meant. I’ve fallen victim to that bad habit more than once. For example, while researching the topic of cryo-sleep for my novella MISION TO NEW EARTH, I visited way too many sites.

I knew about the body being put into hibernation for long-distance space travel from movies like Avatar, Interstellar, 2001: A Space Odyssey. But I wanted to know more, and before I knew it—Wham!—I’d fallen into that Black Hole.

As a sci-fi writer, I’m not concerned with the mechanics of cryosleep or hibernation. I compare it to an automobile. I don’t know (don’t need to know) how my car works. I just need to know that when I put the key in the ignition, that car will take me where I want to go.

From what I’d read, seen in movies, and researched, I gathered enough info to make the scene of my astronauts going into cryosleep believable. At least, I hope so. Or that the reader can suspend disbelief. I was more concerned with the emotions experienced by the astronauts. Their excitement on being pioneers to a new planet warred with fear of dying in flight. Or, as in the movie Passengers, they could wake up too soon then use too much fuel (for life support, artificial gravity, food, etc.) and not be able to get to the new planet.

For me as a reader, emotions carry more weight than scientific facts. Not to be sexist, but generally men like more facts and science in their stories, while women tend to enjoy the emotional journey the characters go on. My target audience are women who like adventure along with romance. Whether my stories take them to small towns in west Michigan or on a starship into deep space, I need to make sure my facts are straight. Nothing tears me away from a story than one that has inaccurate facts. Hence, my need to research. I just wish I could avoid those pesky side links that take me from one interesting article to another and then to another.

It takes discipline to avoid falling into the Black Hole of browsing. Why? Because when we’re researching we’re not writing.

How about you? Have you ever fallen into the Black Hole of research?

Diane combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren. 

Diane's newest book is Mission to New Earth, a Science Fiction novel.

Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?

Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four. Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.
As I waited for confirmation from the director, seconds ticked by slower than a melting glacier. The question kept running through my mind. Are we prepared? They shortened our training. Four years instead of eight. My God, what did they leave out?
“Commander Grenard.” Director Ashcroft rose stiffly. “Your team passed the landing simulation.”
I slowly released a breath, when I really wanted to jump up, hug everyone in the booth, and do a happy dance. Instead, I nodded. “Thank you, sir. I’ll share your words with the team.”
As I got up, the technician winked. “Nice job, Sara.”
I smiled. Of all the techs, Roland was the most supportive. He’d been with our team all four years, starting in New Mexico. Back then, we thought we had eight years to prepare. Four years at White Sands before moving to Ares Station on Mars. But a catastrophe prompted the move to Ares two years sooner. We spent a year there instead of two before moving to Titan. Despite Director Ashcroft’s reassurance, I worried. I feared for my team.
We were about to leave on an adventure of a lifetime. Just thinking about how fortunate we were to explore possible new homes for Earth’s inhabitants, I was still awestruck. Giddiness raced through me and with it the ever-present trepidation. What could go wrong? Were we prepared for all eventualities? What if—
I had to stop speculating on the dangers of our mission. My fear could easily infect my team and spread worse than the bout of influenza that devastated three teams before we left Ares. I was certain the other commanders didn’t have my fears. I bet they didn’t have a swarm of bees roiling around in their stomachs.
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