Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Tip for Researching Setting

Here’s an idea when you’re doing research on places or settings. Take someone with you.

Sure, they can help with navigation and taking notes on scenery as you drive ... but just as importantly, they give you a second view point.

A second set of eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds can notice things you miss. That extra person also sees the same exact thing you do, but from a different perspective. A few months ago, I went with two friends to the Blanton Museum. We wandered the second floor through room after room, from ancient Greece to modern art. We like different kinds of art; we each saw things the others didn’t see – and pointed out stuff to each other.

Have you ever gone out to eat with someone and realized you had different reactions to the same dish? A chili you thought was delicious, the other couldn’t eat because it was too spicy for them? Yet you can hardly believe anyone would have thought it hot. Someone loves the spice curry, while you hate it. I love chai lattes, especially when it has a peppery taste to it. Not everyone does, though.

Sometimes if you only rely on yourself and your senses when you explore places, restaurants, clubs, parks, museums, you miss what others see and feel. You miss how other characters might react to something. That’s because it’s not easy to think outside of your own experiences and influences.

So, if possible, when researching, take someone with you. Listen to their reactions; see things through their eyes.


  1. Good advice, Helen. Just in everyday life, my husband and I always notice different things and see things differently. I can see where getting another perspective would be a big help in researching setting.

  2. Great idea. Of course, when traveling with my husband and son, I'd have to get my son's nose out of his video game, and my husband's out of his Ipod...

  3. I have to admit, Gayle, that every great idea has a flaw. And men are usually at the root of that flaw.


  4. Interesting, I would have never thought of this.

  5. Good idea, taking someone with.
    It works good at doctor's offices and other places too.
    Sometimes you get so nervous you don't remember half of what's said.

    Morgan Mandel

  6. Take someone with you - I like that. Good idea. Maybe even take a car full of people with you?

    Gave me a good idea and something to consider and put into practice.

    Thanks, Helen.

  7. I'm always asking my boyfriend to help me fill in blanks re: words and descriptions...but then get frustrated when the words he supplies aren't the ones I want. That being said, it's an excellent idea to get fresh perspectives!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...