What a boring world we would live in if we stopped learning after graduation. Writing a novel is an excellent way to learn about topics that may not be immediately relevant in our daily lives. I wrote a 50,000 word novel in 2009 about a cannibal and it was an eye opening experience.
I learned how to slaughter an animal so as not to spoil the meat with adrenaline. I learned how to dissolve bone with common pool chemicals. I have no reason to be familiar with a captive bolt gun, but I am.
Being a writer gives you the opportunity to become intimately familiar with the things that your characters care about.
In the case of my debut novel of the Vanessa VanDuyn Series, The Grass is Always Greener, I get to learn about the budding legal marijuana industry. I want to learn without risking a serious but probably very relaxing drug habit, (I do need to stay focused after all) so I have been listening to various marijuana themed podcasts.
The first one was a bust unfortunately. It was a couple of hardcore stoners that comically forgot to add a second or third episode. The next one was more business than pleasure, focusing on politics and policy. I was able to learn more than just lingo, and with hundreds of past episodes, and new ones every week, the information is endless.
These books won't work without authenticity and I hope to honor the cultures that I will be writing about.
I'll be getting deeper into research soon and can't wait to share my knowledge with you all!