It is blog chain time once more, and this time Michelle has started things off.
I honestly don't have any favorite research sites... unless you count Google. When I am stuck for exactly how to describe something or don't have a clear enough vision of it in my head, then I use Google images. If I want to make sure that I am spelling the name of an actual person (like Arnold Schwarzenegger) correctly, then I Google. Sometimes if I am trying to figure out where something is or how long it would take my character to get somewhere then I'll use Google maps.
So yeah, Google. I really really really like Google. But so this post doesn't seem like a paid advertisement for Google, I usually try to write without clicking over to Google and the greater World Wide Web it is a part of, because then there is a whole world of distractions. And since I write stories that take place in contemporary settings, luckily I don't need a lot research, but can instead pull from my own life and observations and then from there let my characters dictate all the little details that go into a story.
For an example of how I usually write details into a story here is a tiny excerpt from my YA novel that I am currently querying.
I slipped out of bed and down the stairs. For pajamas I’d taken to sleeping in the hospital gown that I had kept on beneath the clothes the mom and the dad had brought for me, wearing it the whole drive home, feeling then, as I do now, that it was the only thing that truly belongs to me. Reaching into the closet by the front door, I pulled out the first thing my fingers grabbed hold of – a gigantic puffy parka that covered me down to mid-thigh. Even though it wasn’t that cold out, I pulled the fur-lined hood up over my head, figuring it would counter-balance my bare feet.
For the puffy parka, I was actually remembering similar ones that my younger sisters wore a few years ago when the fur-lined hoods were a very big thing. And from two stays in the hospital after having both of my children via c-section, I am very familiar with hospital gowns. Both of those clothing items came together, and I liked the juxtaposition between the two - the flimsy gown and gigantic coat.
So, that's how I research - what about you?
And to continue following this chain, make sure to check out Sandra's post before mine and Cole's immediately after.