One of my favorite things about writing and literature in general is that it’s always a description of the world in all its crazy complexities. Sure, you could be reading about hobbits and dragons, or journeying through intense space caves, or trying to sort out the thoughts of an unreliable-narrator-slash-serial-killer-maybe, but no matter where you are, you’re being constantly bombarded and confronted with these subconscious little blips of humanity. That’s why it becomes something of a social responsibility of a writer to make sure they’re actually describing humanity – in all its messed-up glory, you could say, or in a way that’s just right. Plus, Hollywood has been calling for a more representative sampling of the world, and literature can do that, too.
I find my writing enhanced with every single class I take; the magic of education (especially humanities education, sorry at my STEM-y friends) lies in the ways it really unpacks the things we take for granted all the time. I write near-exclusively in worlds that aren’t this one (yeah, that means fantasy). With every political science class I take, I think more critically about the social structures at work. With every English class, I’m thinking about what people can read through the words I choose, and the intricacies and implications of how my writing will read against the social and cultural map we’re up against. Sometimes, I feel like I’ll never get enough of the knowledge of this world to make a perfect equivalency in the pages of a book.
And yeah, because none of us do. In fact, research doesn’t need to be some complicated thing. I don’t – as a friend of mine explained to me recently – need to take a full-blown seminar on immigration just to write about an immigrant. But, I do need to think about what I’m writing, and I need to know the realities of what’s out there. And that’s where the rest of my recommendations come in: there are a whole scope of blogs and websites in the world that are explicitly designed to give you those quick research tips, those actualities and stereotype-busters that will make you a better, well-researched writer.
So, here you go – do research fast!!! with these quick and easy links:
Most of these are unapologetically Tumblr blogs, because I take my writing tips in small doses while trying to fall asleep and wake up.
Research is a really weird thing. It can be sparked by inspiration just from visiting a museum, it can be applied from a semester of a research project, or it can plop down from above thanks to a simple interview or visit to a webpage. And it makes a big difference in how you’ll feel in your own work. So, when the writer’s block hits or you just want to procrastinate some school work, maybe turn your attention to the research ahead of you, and see what happens.
Written by Erika S.
R2: The Rice Review
Rice University's undergraduate literary magazine. Here you can find event updates, monthly writing contest winners, and opinions by the R2 staff on what's new, interesting, or subject to discussion in the literary and arts world.