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I recently joined the forums and do not wish to start a topic in theory or general discussion that has already been discussed--in such cases I would prefer reading the previous discussion and only resurrect it if I have something new to contribute. That being said I have been having difficulty with advanced Boolean search terms. Which Boolean search modifier work in the forum search? Are there non-Boolean modifiers that allow for things like wildcard, proximity, and term order searching? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Kobold's Creation Daily thread is quite impressive, given its simple starting point. I find myself interested in a similar, but tangential matter. As a storyteller, one needs to research a large range of topics to maintain a high quality suspension of disbelief. And researching by oneself gets dull. And sometimes you have a hard time figuring out where to start. So I am starting SIRI, named for a character who did historical research by asking a storyteller in some novel or another that you may have read , and nothing to do with a oddly named piece of smartphone software . Feel free to share the cool things you've been researching, or questions that you're still trying to answer, or what ever you like. Then have some fun with the research process by chatting with other people about their subjects-of-interest. Kicking things off, after concocting a magic power that had some interesting limitations, I thought that said magic would be interesting to use in gem cutting and other jewelry making. Turns out that faceting a gem by hand in a dark ages milieu is a tricky business, since "by hand" still involves grinding wheels and possibly a stabilizing mechanism to avoid spoiling the project with a finger fumble. Chisels hardly come in after the first steps of splitting along fault lines.
Mistdork posted a topic in Creator's CornerThis is one of my personal sayings, probably because research is one of those things I "do" as a historian...or so they tell us; half of history is research, half is opinion, and half is spinning stories that make some sense. The truth is, of course, that we can't do math to save our lives...that's why we chose history, not science. Anyway, what I wanted to talk about today is research, and how it applies to creative crafts. Ironically, research for world building or a story has always boggled my mind. While I find conducting research on a topic for a class, a paper, or an article quite easy, I already have a direction for this. It's in my study area (modern U.S. history), it relates to my interests, and I already have a set path to some extent. I know where to find good materials and I also know where to get more materials from if the need arises. As long as it's my area, I'm pretty set. Yet, whenever I even consider (briefly) worldbuilding or going back and writing a story I pause in fright at the mountainous research required to write a story that wouldn't relate to my...errr..."special interests". Even though I know how to research properly, researching in an unfamiliar area is somewhat frightening. There just seems like so many things and directions to look into. From culinary practices, to how this or that ethnic group's farming techniques in this or that period, to music styles, to their history, to scientific practices/medical practices that were common in that culture (Arabs washed their hands in the middle ages a practice that was deeply influenced by Islamic ritual cleansing), to how does my magic system tie into economics, culture, history, religions, and physics! Such things as that. The topics for research seem insurmountable. When I do research for some topic (let's say philanthropy in modern America) I need to learn the terms, how it relates to economics, and such things as that, but it never seems this downright crazy. It's narrow and given to me in a nice, neat package even though I probably spend quite a bit of time researching a few philanthropists and what makes them tic (so to speak). Instead of rambling on, I'll offer a list of questions to get the ball rolling (but you don't have to answer them): How does one organize the vast numbers of topics into something isn't overwhelming? That list is far from exhaustive, and, while no one is going to really care about what your farming techniques are (unless it's a story about farmers fighting giant shadow monsters from the nether), some of these topics aren't that important. Still, a lot of them are important, which leads me to my next question... How does one know when enough is enough and what kind of topics one should really focus on? What parts would you say are the most important? When does "rule of cool" out weight "rule of correct"? If you've done this type of research, how have you organized it? Is there a system that you personally use or have seen other use? Say, if one knew that they want to tell a story where the main character is military in a certain period (Enlightenment; that is, 16th to 17th C Prussia, per example) or a "doctor" in Japan in the same time period (Edo period), how would you go about writing that without being overwhelmed (or cultures similar to that)? In short, I just want to encourage discussion on research and advice on how to do it, I guess...