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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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    Hi Legendary Sidekick,

    I think @Shreddies has pretty much answered your question.

    What I would say is, if you've read and like The Hobbit, don't expect the film(s) to follow the original plot.
     
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  2. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    So we finally know where the Joker's really from. :D:D:D
     
    Ruby likes this.
  3. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    I wanted an original name for the Academy of Magic that features in my WIPs; so I closed my eyes and typed on the iPad to see what I got. After several attempts I typed a name I liked.

    Then I researched it on the internet to make sure no one else had used the name, and they haven't.

    Of course, there may be a reason why it's not been used before! :D
     
  4. Ermol

    Ermol Dreamer

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    Typing in "Can fish smell?" in Google.
     
    Ruby likes this.
  5. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Today, I'm having to research where people slept in medieval times ie did they have separate bedrooms?

    The princess in my WIP has been taken to a nobleman's house. I've discovered that people slept together in the great hall as there were never enough bedrooms for all the servants and other staff who worked in rich establishments.

    Also, the concept of having one's own room to sleep in, let alone one's own bed, is a relatively modern one. Travellers and children were often invited to share beds.

    Of course, as my WIP is a fantasy and I've created the world it's set in, I've given the princess her own private bedchamber. :D

    I'm also researching bedroom furniture and whether noblemen would have houses resembling castles.
     
  6. Hananas59

    Hananas59 Dreamer

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    When I made my nessisaurids (A family of reptiles that will once be shown) I found out that bioluminiscent things (like the bulb of an anglerfish) are actually quite strange in their biology. I've seen a lot of strange types of biolumiscent fish.
     
    Ruby likes this.
  7. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    I had to research eating salamanders. Giant ones, which spit flaming rocks. It turns out you CAN eat them, but trust me, you don't want to.
     
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  8. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Today I'm doing research for my parallel medieval world WIP.

    While finding information about castles and drawbridges, I discovered that people of this period rarely washed or changed their clothes.

    Most notably, they threw the contents of their chamber pots into the castle moat. :eek:
     
  9. Scribe Lord

    Scribe Lord Minstrel

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    ^Speaking of castles and filth, I was researching when I came across the Siege of Château Gaillard where apparently the enemy infiltrated the inner bailey by climbing the toilet chute. Just goes to show the critical importance of Toilet Guard Duty. :)
     
    Ruby likes this.
  10. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

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    Not research per se, but I ran across the origin of the term 'sandwich' recently. It's named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, in the 18th Century. Apparently he enjoyed eating 'meat tucked between two pieces of bread' because it let him continue playing cards while eating, and not get the cards all greasy from the meat.

    The bit about the cards is probably a myth. But just think, we have an Earl and cribbage to thank for the succinct term 'sandwich'. :D
     
    Ruby likes this.
  11. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I've brewed my own catnip and willow bark tea. It's supposed to help against fevers. Really, all it does is leave a terrible taste in your mouth.
    For a steampunk project, I've also asked by physics professor if you can ignite a gaslamp using the same type of firing-pin mechanism found on rifles. He said yes, but that it could blow up. Good point.
    One time I tied a rope to an arrow and shot it from my recurve bow. That was for a scene where my MC has to string ropes over a twenty-foot-wide creek so he can cross (the water is poisonous). Needless to say, the arrow didn't go very far. I'll have to try it again with a stronger bow.
     
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  12. Shreddies

    Shreddies Troubadour

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    I recently heard reference of Mongols using silk vests to stop arrows and, having never worn a silk shirt, to my shame, I thought it sounded a bit fishy. So I poked around a bit and found out that the incoming arrows would not break the silk, but instead end up imbedded in the body wrapped in it, then the arrows could be removed by teasing the silk open. Neat.

    After I had read that I was wondering if there were examples of older societies using fabric as armor, and to my delight I discovered Alexander the Great may have worn a type of laminated linen armor. It functioned much like Kevlar, using the fabric's flexibility to disperse the force of the oncoming arrows.

    Anyone know of other unusual uses of fabric as armor? (I've already read up on gambesons.)
     
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  13. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    The Vikings used fabric armor quite frequently. If you couldn't afford chainmail or leather, a coat of padded fabric would pretty much be your only option.

    Also, in modern sport fencing, the primary protective gear is a fabric jacket, usually with a sort of undershirt beneath it called a plastron. Both are usually nylon, and have to be able to stand up to a blow from a broken foil. If you're beating it up, a foil will sometimes snap during a bout, and before gear was regulated there were incidents of people getting seriously wounded or even dying from being stabbed with one. Not something you want to think about, going into a tournament.

    Hope this is useful!

    (Also, I adore your signature. More people need to take its advice.)
     
    Ruby likes this.
  14. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    One thing about silk armor is that I believe they were worn under a layer of hard leather-- so it isn't just that silk is tough, it's that the leather slows the arrow down first and then the silk tangles it. (Look for some of Malik's articles; most armor is about piling on layers anyway.)

    Similarly, when you hear about the Chinese "paper armor," remember it's paper coated with a particular resin. It's another light material that's stronger than you think, when it's arranged the right layers, but works best when it also has something hardening or screening it.
     
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  15. Xitra_Blud

    Xitra_Blud Sage

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    I don't know what the funniest is but the funniest thing that happened for me is I learned to play chess. xD
     
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  16. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    I had to do surprisingly extensive research on creating topiaries. All because for some reason I decided one of my characters was an avid gardener.
     
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  17. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    Today, I was busy writing my NaNoWriMo fantasy which is set in Victorian Britain.

    A character had to unlock a door and I suddenly thought, "Did they have padlocks in Victorian times?" and then,

    "Who invented the first padlock?"

    Well, the short answers are, "Yes," and "padlocks date back to the Roman Era." (500BC - 300AD) Source Wikipedia

    so it had better be right!

    The trouble with writing historical fantasy is you have to research absolutely everything! :eek:
     
  18. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    No kidding. That's why historical fiction is not my cup of tea. For my one and only historical fantasy, I had to research whether knitting was known in the Viking world. Answer: no, but they had a knotting technique that closely resembled it.

    Has anyone ever done difficult/dangerous research?
     
    Ruby likes this.
  19. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

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    I'm researching vampires for a novel/graphic novel/cartoon.

    I thought this would be a standardised topic but vampires seen to vary a lot. Eg they don't always sleep in coffins; they don't have to be allergic to sunlight or be killed by crucifixes.

    I didn't realise that you can more or less make up your own rules. For example, try comparing the vampires of Stephenie Meyers with those of Anne Rice and Bram Stoker. :eek:
     
  20. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Real vampires don't sparkle....All I'm saying.

    I'm currently doing a vampire story too, and I decided to make mine science-based. It's hard finding reasonable explanations for a creature bursting into flames on contact with sunlight.
     
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