Research

Beyond the ‘Net

A Chrome search for the phrase, “Glabelhammies trend higher,” on Google returns the notice that, “Your search – Glabelhammies trend higher – did not match any documents.” The same search on Internet Explorer’s Bing returns 15,200,000 results, none of which has anything whatsoever to do with Glabelhammies. Billions of web pages without a single mention of Glabelhammies and Google knows it – that’s impressive. When researching a story element, Chrome & Google do a good job of focusing on the element being researched.

For scenics, nothing beats Google Earth’s ability to show you the scene being described. This is important for writers who haven’t been there and for readers who have. Especially if you want the reader to remain immersed in the story when your character stands somewhere famous and looks around. Millions of book readers have been in Times Square, so, better Google it with Street View before you describe it. Nevertheless, Google Earth will not show where the Glabelhammies trend.

The basic limit to Internet research is exactly what makes it so useful. The ‘Net contains existing knowledge. To go beyond existing knowledge, try good old fashioned primary research. Primary Research means collecting information that does not yet exist. There are three basic approaches.

Observation is the key to seeing real life. Details caught by your eye the way you see things can help your writing show what no other writer has and make your story original.

Explore anything new that pops into your head. Accept your creativity and mentally walk into the unknown to develop an idea.

Construct new story elements. Give the reader something they’ve never read by first researching all the old ways that a part of the story has already been told. (Use the Internet) Then get imaginative.

Of course, we already know all of this. The useful question here is “how.” How do we observe real life, how do we explore creative ideas and how do we construct new story elements?

How do you, yourself, collect information that does not yet exist? Anything you can share in the comments below may help others. I know I benefit by learning from other writers. Thank you!

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22 thoughts on “Beyond the ‘Net

  1. mimispeike says:

    GD, I will read this later. For now, I want to inform everyone (have we all stopped looking at our emails like I had, because my inbox is such a mess?) that last night Carl left a remark in the discussion Carl E. Reed, Where Are You?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mimispeike says:

    Glabelhammies? Sounds vaguely German. Might be glabelhamisch. I will consult my husband on it.

    By the time I get Sly and John Dee over to Hamelin, I’ll have figured out the who/what/why of it and I’ll announce the results of my research, maybe do a whole blog post on it. I have the feeling the story of the Glabelhammies (more correctly, Glabelhammen) is fascinating, an overlooked dark corner of history. Hey! Hammen in German means hams. A very very good start to my thinking. Hmmm. Could it be Gobblehammen?

    Thanks! I will give you a credit in my footnotes.

    What does glabel mean? Back in a sec.

    What’d’ya know! A search brings up the link to this here post. GD! You have just created a brand new thing in the world! Give yourself a pat on the back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mimispeike says:

    I’m speculating here. Could be that Hamelin was renowned for its special secret process of curing hams. Which the rats were mad for. Could be Gobble-hammen was the local term hurled at the economy-destructive pest. Just a thought.

    Now I got to start reading up on Hamelin.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mimispeike says:

    I’m searching a German-English dictionary. Glaben is a word, meaning something, can’t figure out what. My husband will help me on this tonight.

    GD! Between Old Spice and Glabenhammies, you are a treasure. Where’d you get that neat word?

    Liked by 1 person

    • GD Deckard says:

      Mimi, figure out a way to use Glabelhammies in Sly. Then, with the Wikipedia page as back-up, there’s got to be a publicity angle in it all πŸ™‚
      (Um, the word itself just fell out of my head)

      Like

  5. mimispeike says:

    I’ve been listening to an interview with Mark Knopfler on YouTube, and I dropped a mention of Glabelhammies. And advised them to google it. I’ve started the ball rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GD Deckard says:

      Well, there’s a publicity angle for you. Come up with an intriguing word that does not exist except on your own book’s website, then get people to Google it. Good thought, Mimi πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. mimispeike says:

    Here’s my theory of the monstrously smart rats of Hamelin, smarter than any rat has a right to be:

    Like with my husband rigging up bird-feeder after bird-feeder, year after year, trying to keep the squirrels out and never succeeding, for centuries Hamelin’s hams were eaten by rats and, generation by generation, the townspeople devised ever-more complicated schemes for protecting their main product, the increasingly bizarre mechanics only stimulating, forcing rat brains sharper and sharper. The city fathers, at their wits’ end, have finally advertised for a rat specialist to come to their aid.

    Sly stumbles across the plea, assures Dee, piece of cake.

    Dee wonders, But why do they offer such a price for the fairly mundane task? Well, we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. mimispeike says:

    Two centuries before, the town had hired an expert and it was a total disaster, the kids lured away, etc. So they’re been fighting the rat battle on their own for two hundred years, trusting no hired hand. In the deepest of deep shit, rat-wise, they have worked up the courage to try a pro again.

    They will demand references, and proof of competence. Dee is vetted in London by the German ambassador and pronounced trustworthy. He receives an advance to cover traveling expenses. He and Sly had bonded during the assassination attempt. They start the long journey as friends. It doesn’t last.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Carl E. Reed says:

    Glabelhammies (noun): Hamstrings of the 7-foot-tall necrotic featherless birds (glabels) of the zombie planet Deadrock. In the undead bird space-opera trilogy written by writer GD Deckard (Deadrock, Return to Deadrock, It’s All About Deadrock Again), glabels were forever injuring themselves when they engaged in sudden stop/start religious sprints meant to venerate the Bird-Who-Beep-Beeped-Trickster-Coyote-Into-Yon-Bottomless-Canyon. A thin premise for a trilogy, it would seem, yet writer GD Deckard won both the Nebulous and Huge Ego awards for this 6,000 page opus; a sui generis work of widely-acclaimed imagination and fowl morbidities.

    Liked by 3 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      Carl! You will never win release from the Ken Kesey Aviary Ward for deranged writers writing like that!

      But, ahh… remember the song we used to sing in the Deadrock bar just before a brawl would break out?
      The Glabelhammies Fight Song!
      (sung to the tune of South Park)

      Glabelhammies everywhere,
      Fighting fowl & never fair,
      Ripping flesh & eyeballs popping,
      Opponents slipping on our droppings!
      Fighting on for gory glory,
      Singing sagas of our story.
      Glabelhammies EveryWhere!
      (repeat ad nauseam πŸ™‚ )

      Liked by 3 people

  9. mimispeike says:

    My German husband has blown up my plans for Glabelhammies. Hammen does not mean hams, there is no such word. Nor does the town of Hamlin have anything to do with pigs, swine, pork processing, nothing of the sort. None of my other theories pan out either.

    I’m going through his German-English dictionary, no luck. I may have to claim it must be colloquial-archaic-obscure-dialect and, in the footnotes, explain how the term came about and send people over here if they want to learn more.

    But! I am not giving up! You will hear more from me on this, you can bet your glabelhammies.

    _____________________________________________

    No such word, eh? Off the internet:

    Hammen: (Dutch and North German origin) a pet name/term of endearment derived from an element cognate with Gothic hamon ‘to cover’, ‘to clothe’, suggestive of loving care.

    Glebe: from Latin glaeba: (poetic) land, esp. when regarded as the source of growing things. (I expand this to include land supporting another source of wealth and well-being, the cottage-industry pig-raising and ham curing which produces an especially delicious Smithfield Ham-type delicacy commanding a commensurate price.)

    Glabelhammies, a corruption/variation of glebe-hammen: Pests who have taken over the town of Hamelin and environs, a dangerously aggressive and destructive strain of vermin, huge, healthy, and enormously fecund from centuries of gloriously good eating, and wily as hell from besting all manner of barriers and mazes. Sly will have his work cut out for him.

    I believe glabelhammies could be translated as livelihood-undermining darlings. This is the gist of the phrase, but without the playful flavor.

    Liked by 2 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      Actually, all that knits together quite well, Mimi. I think you’ve got it πŸ™‚ !
      And congratulations on doing pure research instead of just taking things off the ‘Net.

      Liked by 1 person

    • GD Deckard says:

      Not at all. You actually did pure research. You constructed new knowledge, of “livelihood-undermining darlings,” that did not exist. I can see them becoming a whole new class of literary characters.

      Like

  10. mimispeike says:

    And, I am serious about a Wikipedia page. I’ve thought about that for a year or more. Don’t know if fictional info hidden in a real topic will go. Do books (current/not famous) get listed? Time to check that out.

    But, maybe we should work on a page about Writer Coop. After we get a bit more going. I will see if any other writer groups have a listing. I wonder if Jane Friedman is there? Sh’e a fairly big deal in book marketing.

    Liked by 1 person

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