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What's the funniest research you've ever had to do for your fantasy novel?

Discussion in 'Research' started by Ruby, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Last night, I wanted to draw an illustration for my WIP and had to research what a Victorian gentleman wore. I drew the character wearing a frock coat as that's the first thing that came up on the internet. As he was indoors, I did not include his top hat.
     
  2. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    You should introduce yourself first. They might bite you like a flea, before they realize who you are.

    Then again, if you read that question the other way, it might get a little perverted. "Once you go scaled you're never the same again."
     
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  3. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

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    I've recently looked into what kind of chemical reaction would be required for a plant to launch its seeds or nuts like a cannonball. I mean, why bother with birds and animals for spreading seeds when you can fire them off yourself! Or drive away pesky predators with an organically grown lovechild of an acorn and an AK-47.

    I could just start applying hefty doses of Handwavium, but where's the fun in that? :D
     
    Ruby likes this.
  4. Kennith E Perry

    Kennith E Perry Scribe

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    The weirdest was when I was doing research for a character who has different sexual fetish's. I was reading on some and could not believe what some people are into! There are men who actually enjoy pooping and peeing in their pants! Some like to dress like babies and wear diapers and others just go in their pants...ON PURPOSE! That was the weirdest and grossest thing I've ever read.
     
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  5. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    I'm researching villains and found I had a copy of 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, so I started rereading it.

    Now I'm watching a DVD of the Disney cartoon. Interestingly, Cruella De Vil is quite different in the cartoon to the way she's depicted in the book. The best part of the cartoon is the beginning before the two dog owners meet. The book starts with them being already married.

    Have any of you watched cartoons as research for your book?
     
  6. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    There was a book? :confused:
     
  7. Aspasia

    Aspasia Sage

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    Edwardian undergarments. For some strange reason I decided to set my alt-history-with-magic story in Edwardian England, but had no concrete idea what the clothes looked like. It's actually really cool the way underskirts, petticoats, and bustles have evolved over time (and has made me very, very thankful that modern clothing is not nearly so uncomfortable!). I'm usually a strict invented world epic fantasy writer, but had an urge to write an amusing spies and magic story. Never thought I'd be doing this much research for this! Thinking of making my main character was a seamstress (and a spy! exciting :D), so lots of fashion/clothing research to come, probably!
     
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  8. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi Jabrosky,

    Yes, the book was published in the 1950's. There's also a sequel called, The Twilight Barking.
     
  9. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

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    Sounds like an alternate ending to a certain vampire series. :D
     
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  10. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    Don't get me started on 101 Dalmations. The book is a fun little treasure (even if it doesn't show how the two couples met); the movie tries but doesn't come close. Especially it was the big start of Disney dumbing down and camping up its villains-- they didn't like the showing they'd just had with Sleeping Beauty, and who'd ever remember a witch like Malificent? :rolleyes:
     
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  11. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi wordwalker,

    I agree with you. The book, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, has a lot more depth than the cartoon. For example, in the book, Cruella has a little husband who is a furrier. He has adopted her surname of de Vil.

    Mrs Dearly remembers Cruella from school and says she was scared of her and that Cruella always had a white and a black plait.

    In the cartoon, Cruella just appears at their house.

    Also, in the book, Missis (Perdita in the film) has been rescued by Mrs Dearly after being mistreated by her previous owner. She's already had a litter of puppies.

    When books are made into films they are always altered. Look at what they did to the Little Mermaid, Roald Dahl's The Witches,(they changed the ending) and what about The Hobbit! :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  12. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Not to mention Eragon! what a S...t storm!
     
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  13. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    True enough.

    Most of adapting any book is finding where to trim a few hundred pages down to 100-ish minutes--

    unless you're Peter Jackson!--

    and I'm used to that. It's a microcosm of the whole writing process; merging characters like Perdita and Missis into one are just re-choosing where to emphasize. In fact, the film's still a pretty good glimpse into the canine world and general fun of the book...

    Except Cruella. The original was very much in the spirit of the Evil Queen and other elegant villains both before and after golden age Disney. She had the dogs honestly wondering if she might come by the name "deVil" literally. Irony of ironies, she made it to Disney just in time to get... well, it's a case study of how to undermine a whole movie with a weak villain. Or at least "kiddify" it with someone who might startle the younger kids with her rants but never risk the kind of age-crossing chills a proper enemy might stir up.

    (Then again, since her scheme was the nastiest "kick the dog" ever, maybe a Malificent-level villain would have made the movie too dark for even the grownups. Tough call.)

    Someday I'll do a proper blog post on that, but my takeaway is: for most styles, your story can never be any better than your villain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
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  14. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi,

    I haven't written on this thread for a while but, in a moment of weakness ie procrastination, I was messing around with an app and started a cartoon about a vampire who's been turned into a pig by an inept witch. So now I'm busy researching vampires and pigs.

    I suppose pigs will eat most anything.

    Then yesterday, the vampire turned a bit scary... :eek:
     
  15. EMoon

    EMoon Dreamer

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    Funniest research question? Artificial insemination in dogs (if you want to make your vet fall over laughing when you call, ask the vet questions about your fictional animal situations.)

    Funniest research activities? Talking neighborhood kids into carrying around long cane poles so I could see what mistakes recruits would make most often in drilling with polearms. Learning to use a scythe (while wearing a dress and high heels. Because the person who knew how was at church. And yes, I had the scythe in the back of the car.)
     
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  16. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    What happened to The Hobbit?

    I remember when I was a kid, there was a Hobbit animation. That was my first introduction to book ≠ film. When asked how many (dwarf) survivors, Gandalf replied, "Seven. Soon to be six." But in the book, only three dwarves died. And Filli and Killi lived in the cartoon.

    My wife won't sit through 10 hours of Hobbitness, and if she's not into it, I won't bother seeing it myself. It's not a spoiler if you tell me what Peter Jackson did differently.
     
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  17. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Well technically it would be since people who haven't seen it but intend to could happen upon this thread so might be best to take that to PMs or something.
     
  18. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

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    I don't think these count as spoilers, so:

    One of the largest changes he made was adding a new female elf character in the bit with Mirkwood (Captain of the guard, iirc). The inclusion of Legolas makes sense, in my opinion, since his father was the king, but it seemed like the only reason for him to add the guard character was to have a token female in a cast entirely of males. (And to have her and Fili (or Kili, can't remember) be a bit flirty).

    Bombur also did not fall into the river in Mirkwood, falling asleep and losing his memory of recent events. Instead Jackson had Kili (or Fili) get poisoned, and the new guard character run to his aid in Lake-town.

    He also changed the characterization of the Dwarves in general and the reasons for their quest. Thorin was the most heavily affected. Jackson also included an orc named Azog who had a vendetta with Thorin, so he was chasing them for most of the trip (providing the running fight scenes). And also the Arkenstone was changed from a gem of incredible value, to a sign of kingship (which is why Movie!Thorin wanted it. To unite the Dwarves and take back their home).

    Smaug's weakness was changed from a gold and jewel encrusted belly with one spot unarmored, to a scale that was knocked loose by Bard's disgraced ancestor.

    The affect of the ring on Bilbo was increased significantly, and Bilbo's talk with Smaug was changed entirely (the ring decided to stop working at one point, so Smaug saw Bilbo and was chasing him around a bit). And the Dwarves were made to fight Smaug in the mountain.

    There were some things mentioned in the book that he fleshed out, such as Gandalf dealing with the necromancer. He handled those segments quite well, as far as I could tell, but the changes to the characters themselves bugged me to no end.

    The ninja wood elves were fun to watch though. :D

    Back on topic:
    I recently looked into what kind of poisons tribal cultures would use with their blowdarts. Kinda creepy how dangerous some of the frog secretions are. Cheap and easy to apply though. Just rub your dart on the frogs back. :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
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  19. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

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    Didn't mean to double post, but it's been a while.

    I was recently looking into punctuation (its history and origins) and ran across this little gem of a name: Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!

    And yes, it's a real town. :D
     
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  20. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Hi Shreddies,

    Thanks for posting that. Fact can be stranger than fiction!
     
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