Research Suggestion For Writers To Better Their Story

Research is an important tool for writers. Whether you are writing a western or a police procedural story, for example, you want details to be accurate. But there is another type of research that is just as important.

You want your characters to be real, ones readers can identify with. They have a type of personality, they have motivations,  they have strengths and insecurities. So in creating a character there is also research involved. Let me give an example.

I am writing a murder mystery. The victim is a young woman. We know nothing about her. She is fished out of a canal on the first page. During the course of the novel we learn about her and not just facts, more about who she is behind the facts.

I need to research the type of woman I want her to be. So I look at a book entitled Women Who Run With the Wolves.  The book contains myths and stories of the wild woman archetype. I focus on four chapters. One contains mythical stories about women as naïve prey. Another chapter is Hunting: When the Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The point is to learn about the mythical and psychological aspects of who this woman is, to give flesh and blood to her.

I am also reading Love and Limerence which is providing some great insight into men and women, about what love is and what it might not be.

I am also checking through Games People Play by Dr. Eric Byrne, about the psychological games we play-and there are many. This will help when her friends talk about her, telling specific stories indicating something of her character, her nature.

There are many books to chose from, not just books like The Meaning of Persons or Please Understand Mebut books on mythology from countries around the world.

The more research you do about the psychology of people, of archetypes, of mythology, the more you see who your character is going to become. The character will be real, will be someone readers can understand. All because of research.

Of course, since my story takes place in 1928, I need to research fashion, automobiles, all the little details, something of the times, making sure nobody watch’s TV or uses a cellphone. Writers always take the time to get those things correct, but we should never take for granted the characters to be created. Not how to create them.

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Seven insults not to say to a woman

  1. Whipperginnie. An abusive name for a woman used in the 1600’s, it was the equivalent of a derogatory name for a man-snippersnapper, and taking the whipper part of the first word and adding it to the male name you get whippersnapper, an insulting term for a male that has lasted for centuries. My uncle called me a whippersnapper often when I was a child. I thought it meant I was smart as a whip. Now I know better. 
  2. Wallydraigle is a worthless slovenly woman. No offense to men named Wally, but wally is a term insulting somebody’s intelligence or common sense.
  3. Taw-Bess is a slut, a slattern. I have no idea who Bess was, but she was either very bad, or very good. 
  4. Tirliry-Puffkin is light-headed woman, a flighty woman, a flirt.
  5. Daggle-Tail came about from a woman’s garments that were dirtied from being trailed over wet ground, therefore she was a untidy woman, another slut or slattern. Daggle is a term that means to drag through the mud. The Tail I will let you figure out.
  6. Drassock is a drab, untidy woman. Bonus word-Drosell is another word for slut or hussy.
  7. Bronstrops is  prostitute. I think it may be fair to say a bronstrop is a professional drosell and I mean no offense to either.

These words come from the British Isles and were used centuries ago. It shows how language changes and thinking that, you wonder how many words we currently use will be lost centuries from now. There a couple of good words to call a woman of course. And they come from the book that I got these words and definitions from. The book is Poplollies and Bellibones.

Poplolly is a little darling, a female favorite, special loved one, or mistress (but not a bronstrop or drosell)

Bellibone is a lovely maiden, a pretty lass. It is anglicized from the French belle et bonne.

When you look at the seven uncomplimentary names, humorous as they sound, they are harsher than poplolly and Bellibone, both of which have a lovely sound to them. Perhaps if a word sounds bad, it is and if it sounds good, it is.

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