I love research. Why? It’s an awesome procrastination tool.
But it’s also a smart thing to do. I just took a four-day research trip (and drove 1400 miles total, WOW, lots of gas), and it was beaucoup fantastic. I learned so much, even more than I was expecting to learn.
Some of what I now know:
1) one character needs a French surname, not an English one
2) buffalo are WAY bigger than you’d think (see photo for scale)
3) coyotes can’t catch prairie dogs, even though they try
4) grandmothers rule the world
5) people are incredibly generous (thanks again, Ernie & Sonja!)
6) there was a real guy named Buddy Red Bow–he’s not just a character in a film
7) a person could get lost in western South Dakota–on purpose or by accident
8) always bring a cooler
The best thing about research is how much better it makes your fiction. At the same time, you have to be very, very careful not to let facts overwhelm your story.
Now to do justice to what I learned. Eeek.
Hilarious photo from here.