The Card Catalog Taught Me Everything I Know 🗄


Or, How I Research.

Once upon a time, my mother began taking me to visit to our local library. It was fascinating place to my young self. There was a round room where they put the new releases. It was filled with old brown furniture on casters, and retirees reading the newspaper.

They had a section of vinyl records and a reference room with phone books from all over the United States.

And of course, they had card catalogs: once an iconic object in libraries, now replaced by computers (that’s not a bad thing). That’s how I learned how to research, using these quaint, yellowing, typewriter ink-smudged, alphabetically categorized units of information.

Nowadays I just use Google, like everybody else. I have not yet traveled to any particular location to do on-site research for my writing, mainly because much of my fiction is set in a fantasy world. 😜

Sometimes I incorporate some of my personal experiences in my writing, such as school or work. But usually, I read about the things I’m writing about. For The Brumal Star, I looked up:

  • the life cycle of acorns
  • month-by-month pregnancy symptoms
  • history of law enforcement
  • seasonal temperatures in a temperate zone
  • pipistrelle facts
  • spelunking
  • how to start a campfire
  • rooks, ravens, and other corvids
  • wild dog attacks
  • the history of crossbows