Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Details, Details -- Eve

A recent poll of married American women revealed that 35% would agree to a one“date” with Matthew All-My-Shirts-Are-In-The-Wash McConaughey if their husbands could never find out. When I asked my husband what he thought of that, he replied, “Well, it’s an important study. It proves that 65% of American women lie.” HA!

I’m a stickler for statistics. Like this one: Only 1 in 4 Americans read a whole book in the last year. What?? How about this one: 1 in 10 kids have been drunk by the age of twelve. You’re kidding me, right? And my favorite: Over 25% of women who reach the age of 100 have never been married. But...100% of men who reach age 100 are married or widowed. Fascinating! I don’t know what any of this means, but I’m very entertained by statistical minutia. What fun I am at cocktail parties…Woo! Go Evie...It's your birthday...(doing the Cabbage Patch as we speak).

Having a science background, I realized that I should probably use some of that ridiculously expensive education and weave some science into my novels. My YA work-in-progress is filled with scientific facts and stats. Not boring ones, but important ones, like, you are 28 times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than a great white shark. And, silver-colored cars get into far more collisions than any other cars. Good thing I just painted mine hot pink! Because my main character weighs the risks and benefits of everything she does, she obsesses over facts like these to get through the day.

Like my character, I am obsessive by nature, so I spend most of my days researching like a mad woman. For my first novel, I researched Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, the history of superheroes, black bears, geology of faults, volcanoes and earthquakes, origins of Los Angeles' Bloods and Crips, PTSD, Buddhism, Crazy Horse, and the struggle of the Lakota Sioux. Random, but it all fit together in the end.

For this second book, I’m researching things as varied as neurodegenerative diseases, the science of memory, surfing, history and geography of Big Sur, Jack Kerouac’s Beat Generation, astrology, classic literature, assisted suicide, death sentences, and Alice In Wonderland symbolism. Tomorrow I’m headed out on a research trip to literally walk in the footsteps of my main character. Since the book begins with her undergoing testing for a rare and devastating disease, I am driving up to the UCSF Medical Center to begin the lengthy testing process and experience exactly what she would. Even though this is fiction, I want the feelings and details to be completely raw and authentic. Then in a few weeks, I’ll road trip up Highway 1, just as my character will when she sets out to unlock the mysteries of her past.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty serious book. Otherwise, I’d toss Matthew McConaughey into the story as a love interest and head to Malibu next week for some in-depth research!

- Eve


Colorado Writer said...

Write on, Eve!

Laura said...

Funny you should mention Matthew M. The radio dejay was talking about him yesterday, I think because of this story:

Maybe 65% of women don't like stink! : )

Keep on writing!!! Go Eve Go!!!

Linda D. (sbk) said...

I know! Every time I see him sweating in a movie now, I just keep thinking, wow, that poor leading lady. How bad does he smell today?

Sounds like fun research Eve. I tried to do a little research of my own a couple days ago and failed miserably. I suppose I should have tried harder (I told the whole frozen story on my blog earlier this week).

Good for you for being dedicated and obsessive.

cynjay said...

Forget the stinky Mr. M and toss me some Morris Chestnut any day. Mmmmhmmm. I'm sure he smells even better than I imagine.

I write 40 web articles every month and I'm always afraid that someone is going to hit the "back" button on my laptop and look at what I've been researching. Some of the topics for the past month include: head lice, fruit baskets, child talent agencies, hemorrhoids and the evil eye. My friends are all tired of hearing me say: "Oh, I just wrote an article on that..."

Disco Mermaids said...

Wait a minute, is my boyfriend, MM, smelly? I must read this article before he and I go any further.

Cynjay, you are funny. I know, whenever I tell people what I'm researching, they think I'm strange. But your list beats mine for sure. Head lice and hemorrhoids in fruit baskets. Nice!


Laini Taylor said...

Well, I'm just not into stinky-looking Matthew, but I love weird statistics, and l love reading weird lists of topics that writers have researched for their books! Your lists are great -- I look forward to reading the books some day! The new one sounds really intense, and it's amazing that you're going to get to experience the testing process and bring that level of realism to the writing!

Disco Mermaids said...

Thanks, Laini.

I think we should have a contest where writers have to list all the crazy things they've researched for the sake of their children's books. And then we could award the winner with, um, one of Cynjay's fruit baskets (minus the lice) or something.

I know Robin has an interesting list, Cynjay too. I just remembered, when I wrote a (very bad) picture book long ago, I rolled around with some pigs in a pen to see what it felt like. But, that was just really fun. Made me want to be a pig in my next life.


Katie said...

Okay Eve, let me get this went to have real medical testing today??!! Have you gone nutso?

Granted...apparently I am the single worst kid book researcher on the planet, but you have taken it to a new level.

So what tests did you have?

Susan Sandmore said...

Don't hate me, but I don't really like M.M. all that much. Like in Contact, for instance? I was totally not feeling the love. But what do I know? I'm the girl whose first crush was on Carl Sagan.

Disco Mermaids said...

Matthew McConaughey. Mmmm...research.

(Sorry, Jay.)