Did you know? #snowboarding #ThoraBright #StaaleSandbech

Did you know modern snowboarding was invented in 1965 when Sherman Poppen fastened two skis together for his daughters to play with in the snow? When one looks at photos like this one of Thora Bright in action, it’s difficult to believe the sport was actually invented barely fifty years ago.

thora in action

 

Snowboarding was originally called snurfing (snow+surfer) by Poppen’s wife. Here’s a proof that snowboarders are also good surfers. This is Norwegian Staale Sandbech, a silver medalist from Sochi 2014.

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When I researched the background for On the Slopes, I mostly focused on Norwegian Staale Sandbech and Australian Thora Bright.

Snowboarding became an Olympic sport at the 1998 winter games in Nagano, Japan. The games in Sochi in 2014 included slopestyle events for the first time, and in the next Winter Olympic games big-air will be included.

Even James Bond snowboards in A View to a Kill from 1985. Tom Sims was Roger Moore’s stunt double.

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Why book research is good for you?

While I did the research for my current work in progress, I realized a few random things about myself, too. Research can trigger surprising self-discovery.

  • Stuffed animals give me the creeps.
  • I want to become a member of a secret society.
  • I can’t live without a Thesaurus (or actually, the Internet because I use an online Thesaurus).
  • Unlike some authors, I can’t write without an Internet connection  – for the already mentioned reason, but also because when I’m stuck for words, I like to surf the Net to unwind, and I’ll get back to writing more quickly after that.
  • I don’t understand people who eat burnt toast.
  • I admire people that wear colorful clothes. I wear mostly black.
  • I want a tattoo.

Apart from the randomness above, I also realized that my writing style is a sort of research. I used to write most of the stories in third person POV, but for my last YA, I switched to first person. I’m writing my current novel in first person, too. It gives me far more insight into my main character and it’s in a way more liberating than I ever thought possible. I think this has largely to do with the topics I cover in my books. I’ve never  written (and probably never will write) about social issues in my books. I’m more interested in the psychology of an individual. Hence, it makes sense for me to use first person narration. It took me three books to realize this.

You never know when you’ll discover something surprising about yourself. 😉

Also, there’s still time to enter my giveaway for $50 GC for Amazon and other prizes.

Drawing my way through the story

Since I blogged SONY DSCabout research last time I thought I’d share a little bit of what the research for my next book includes. Using Google maps to refresh my memory about the prettiest Paris spots that I visited a couple of years ago is easy. One of the more difficult tasks is putting together a fictional fashion collection.

I’ve always liked drawing croquis and designing and sewing my own clothes, which probably explains why my protagonist wants to be a fashion designer. But I’m beginning to realize putting together an entire collection that revolves around a central theme is a lot harder than I anticipated.

I think quite a few more attempts will be needed before I nail it, huh? 😉 I have to get re-accustomed to using a pencil again. But it’s an enjoyable process.

Research

A lot of writers, agents and editors, or just people in general, will tell you to write about the things that you know, that you’re familiar with. Obviously, that has its merits, but it can be very limiting in terms of the subject matter you can use in your writing.

I don’t write science fiction or historical fiction or any other genre that would require a very specific and in-depth knowledge. I write contemporary stories about ordinary people, focusing on what they feel and how they behave. Still, for every book or story I ever wrote, I had to do some research. Mostly, that included details about a certain place, event or person, maybe some history, a few cooking techniques etc. This usually means that I do the research as I go along, while I write and when I come upon the topic that needs researching. I never do the research in advance.Google maps

Most often, I can do my research on the internet. On occasion I read a book or watch a film (an enjoyable type of research, I tell ya!). Google maps come in handy, too – in fact, I’m using it a lot lately since I’m writing a story that takes place in Paris. The most unusual topic I researched was how a car burns when doused with gas and lit on fire. Then there were mental illnesses, how to protect a vineyard against frost, and snowboarding.

Research is very rewarding in itself. I’ve learned all sorts of things (mostly useless, but fun) since I’ve started writing. For me, it’s very enjoyable because I like to learn and discover new stuff. So lately, I’ve been wanting to write about something that would require a lot of research. I don’t have any ideas yet, but I’d really like to enter a new world, an environment I don’t know anything about. I think it would be fun.

How much research do you do? Do you research before you start writing? Or do you write about the things you’re already familiar with?