Monday, April 15, 2013

Having Fun With Research

Photo Credit:  Susan J. Reinhardt

Nostalgia, vintage items, and antique shops have one thing in common: ME! I made the shadow box in the picture. I took older items and photos of my parents and made them into a collage.

Research doesn't have to be about reading textbooks or sifting through piles of boring clippings to find that one gem. My adrenaline flows at the mere thought of visiting a historical site or an antique shop. There's something about seeing memorabilia from bygone days that makes me rush back to my computer with fresh material.

This may seem odd since I'm writing Christian Speculative Fiction. Yet, I've seen how history can impact the future. Decisions and events have shaped our present.

So, my friends, go have fun with your research. Sample different cultures, foods, and sights both past and present.

Writers: What does your fun research look like?

Readers: What activities and hobbies make your heart sing?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I was with a friend over the weekend and we went to an antique barn .. Laura found clothes ... and I found histories of the London Underground .. now who would have thought of writing about that!! I do now .. I find so many interesting things ... time to post is the challenge!

Cheers Hilary

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

Oh, what a fun trip! I can spend hours in a large antique shop.

Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

I love the shadow box! You are so creative. :)

My research takes on many forms, depending on what I am writing. I've delved into American history, as well as one specific group's history and culture for the WIP. I also research various topics for articles, lessons, and blog posts. It just never seems to end, but I do enjoy it!


Cindy R. Wilson said...

I love antique stores! All those pieces of history make me think and wonder and give me an escape.

I don't have to do a lot of research for my stories, but there's always something I'm looking up. This time it was old hotels, and it was interesting learning about one of the more historic hotels here in Denver.

Loree Huebner said...

I do Civil War reenacting, so I get to experience some of my research that way. It's fun to dress the part.

I also love antique shops. I find new things/old time items to add color to my stories.

Nancy said...

Your shadow box is beautiful. It just captures the femininity of a bygone time.

Antique shops and certain museums make my heart sing. I also love old music from different eras.

quietspirit said...

I love those gloves in your shadow box. A cousin of ours had a shadow box many years ago. My research is mainly confined to the Bible. I have some pictures that date back to WWI. I really don't know what to do with them.

Melanie N. Brasher said...

Beautiful shadow box! I too feel a rush when I find some fresh detail for my WIP. :)

btw, thanks for your sweet comment on my website the other day. You are such a blessing to others!

JD said...

That shadow box is beautiful. I love the gloves in particular.

I enjoy speaking to people as part of my research. Everyone has several interesting stories to tell, whether they know it or not. I enjoy speaking to foreigners in particular because their stories tend to be so different from what I've experienced.

Anyway, you make a good point that research doesn't only consist of reading!

Be well, my friend...

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen - The amount of material out there is staggering. Sometimes it's hard to know when to stop researching.

Hi Cindy - No matter what the story, there always seems to be a tidbit needing research.

Hi Loree - There's something about seeing and touching an old item that adds to your knowledge.

Hi Nancy - Thank you. Maybe someday we can meet in person and go to an antique shop. :)

Hi Quiet Spirit - If you decide to write a novel someday, they might come in handy.

Hi Melanie - I love a vintage look, and these family items were perfect. I gave this to my mother one Mother's Day.

Hi Janette Dolores - I had some expert help on my book with the Amish details. Interviewing people from different backgrounds is both enlightening and entertaining.

Susan :)

Rhonda Schrock said...

My research? I live with those I'm "researching," Susan. :D

The shadow box is beautiful, Susan. Very meaningful! What a nice way to rest your brain after a long week at work.

Happy spring!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

LOL! You don't have to travel or visit museums. Wait until you add grandkids to the mix!

Susan :)

BECKY said...

Hi Susan, I LOVE your shadow box, too! It's really beautiful. I made one YEARS ago with photos and mementos of my mother, but it isn't well put together AT ALL. It's one of those things on my List of Things I Might Never Get Around to Doing! :)
I love vintage items of every kind, too. I really need to stop by here more often.....uh oh....another item on that LIST!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Becky -

I made this quite a few years ago. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time for crafts and crocheting anymore. I do get to antique shops as often as possible.

Writing takes a LOT of time.

Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

I do my research online. No real hobbies, besides collecting wheat pennies. :-)
Lovely shadow box!!

troutbirder said...

Books and new and old photos provides all I need for something to write about. I suppose blogging isn't very highly considered as a writing forum but I mostly look at it as something fun to do. And have even had a few posts reprinted in birding and fishing magazines...:)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess - I've done a lot of online research as well. We have so much at our fingertips with the Net.

Hi Troutbirder - Blogging is a great way to hone your writing skills and meet new people. It's a valuable tool. Congrats on having some of your articles picked up by magazines.

Susan :)

Carol Garvin said...

I'm rather late commenting, but wanted to say your shadow box is lovely! What a wonderful way to showcase historical items. I'm currently working on an historical project for our church and am scrapbooking many old photos. There are also other items that won't fit into a book, and a shadow box might be the perfect solution.

I'm not normally an avid historian or a collector of antiques unless they have special significance to me, such as is the case with family heirlooms. But I always enjoy doing the research that's necessary for my novels.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carol -

I'm glad I gave you an idea for your project.

Putting it together is fairly simple with a pretty fabric, some trims, a several meaningful items. I used the backing from the picture frame, glued some padding onto it, then wrapped and glued the fabric in place.

The frame itself came unfinished from a craft store. I painted this one a gold metallic, but you can stain or paint it any color.

It's held up well over the years. I'd love to see a picture of your finished shadow box.

Susan :)