Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Google Searches of a Writer

When I first got the crazy idea to write a book a few years ago, I decided to Google, "How to write a novel." I was promptly introduced to Randy Ingermanson and the Snowflake Method.
Little did I know that was just the beginning of my profitable relationship with Google. We all have research needs as writers, and while Google doesn't always provide the most official answers to our burning questions, it's a great place to start.
Here's a sampling of Google searches from my writing journey thus far. 
1) Is a caveman the same as a Neanderthal? Inquiring minds want to know.
2) How deep is a casket buried? Just in case I get buried alive some day.
3) Tools at a lumberyard. Never hurts to learn a new skill.
4) What does a flooded basement smell like? I'm looking for a new scented candle.
5) What's a nickname for big ears? My son needs a nickname for the neighborhood bully.
6) How do the Amish heat their homes? My furnace is on the fritz.
7) Marathon training schedule. Just in case I get motivated to run more than a mile.
8) Drainage pipe codes. My hubby's got an outdoor project planned.
9) How long is an industrial dishwasher cycle? Looking to replace my residential one.
10) Commercial real estate license requirements. I need another career option in case this author thing doesn't work out.
What's your favorite research tool? Do you have any unique Google searches to share?
*This post originally published on Hoosier Ink December 13, 2010.
 **Search photo by Master isolated images /

Sarah Forgrave is a stay-at-home writer-mom who feels blessed to pursue her calling and passion. She writes contemporary romance for the inspirational market and is a regular contributor to the webzine Ungrind.

To learn more about Sarah, visit her personal blog at:


Anonymous said...

LOL...those are so funny! Not the searches, but the hilarious reasons to search!!!!

What a great way to start the day!

And you are right...Google is one of my best friends. :)

patti.mallett_pp said...

I love Google, and your reasons for using it!! I also love this blog!

Jessica R. Patch said...

Ha! LOVE this list! I also love me some google but I use howstsuffworks (dot)com A LOT! A LOT, I tell ya!

Casey said...

LOL! I love your humor, Sarah. :) Can you imagine if something happened to Brandilyn Collins the stuff they would find in her history?!??

Keli Gwyn said...

What a fun post. I love your sense of humor, Sarah.

And I love Google, the library, the archived copies of California's oldest newspaper (published in my town of Placerville!) that go all the way back to 1851, interviews with people who know what I wanna know, picking the brains of the research gurus at our local museum, new reference books, etc. There's nothing quite like the thrill of finding new bits of info to incorporate into my stories--no matter the source.

Beth K. Vogt said...

Oh, Sarah ... if someone ever checked my Google searches, what would that say about me?

Now I'm wondering ....

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I love this, Sarah! I Google everything. What is the difference between superfine sugar and regular sugar, what are the symptoms of pneumonia, when is apple season in California? Thanks for a fun post!

Julia M. Reffner said...

I love your google searches. It is so strange and interesting what we end up checking. I do have to check out this snowflake method. :)

Jennifer K. Hale said...

While working on my romantic suspense I told my husband to completely expect someone from Homeland Security to show up at our house looking for me because I was Googling all kinds of topics having to do with Islam and the Middle East.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Sherrinda - I know, right?! What did authors do before Google? *shudder*

Patti - Thank you and happy googling! :)

Jessica - I haven't visited howstuffworks yet. I'll have to check it out!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Casey - So true! I bet suspense writers have some doozies of searches. :)

Keli - Oohhh, I'll bet those newspaper copies provide lots of story fodder!

Beth - LOL! No matter what they think, just remember you're not alone. :)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Cindy - I never knew there was such a think as superfine sugar! The things ya learn from Google... :)

Julia - The Snowflake Method is a great tool! But if you're a pantser, it might give you a nervous tic, lol.

Jenny - LOL! If they come looking, I'll vouch for ya. :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Coming very late to the party today (it's been one of THOSE days). Loved this post. Your "reasons" for searching the topics cracked me up. :)

I've found great visual demonstrations on youtube for things like how to do indoor rock climbing. I think my favorite search so far was one on ballroom dancing bloopers.

It's fun to see the other research resources listed here.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Jeanne - Yes! I forgot about YouTube! I've found some great resources there too. :)

Embrace said...

Your searches are great! I actually LOL'ed. I have searched for so many things too but I never thought to keep a list. It would look equally funny I'm sure.

Tracy Krauss said...

google (and the internet in general) have revolutionized research methods. I've been writing long enough to remember long evenings spent at the library as well as sending away for information by mail...

Sarah Forgrave said...

Jodi - I know, right? We writers are a crazy lot! I never kept a list until I googled the Neanderthal question. And then I knew I was officially insane. :)

Tracy - It's hard to imagine waiting to get research back in the mail when we're spoiled with Google now! I admire writers who pushed through despite the lack of technology.