Ridiculous Research – A Guest Post from Angela Ruth Strong

Posted October 19, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Guest Post / 2 Comments

Writer’s block comes from not knowing your subject well enough to have something to say about it. When I step into my character’s world or experiences, my thoughts and senses are filled to overflowing, and the words automatically splash all over the page.

At the moment, my writing is in a dry spot. Phyllis asked me to blog about all the interesting things I’ve done in the name of research then added that she didn’t need me to finish it right away, but I jumped at the chance to get some words on a page. I’m hoping these memories of ridiculous research will also inspire me to step into my current character’s shoes, so I can have fun telling her story again.

I wrote a story set on a ranch, Finding Love in Big Sky, even though I knew nothing about horses. Of course, I got stuck, and to get out of this funk, I called my friend who owned a farm and asked if I could visit. This not only brought my story back to life but finding out about Fjord horses inspired the whole Norwegian heritage of my character. Bonus: This past weekend I attended her barn dance wedding reception where she pretty much brought my cowboy ball to life.

My friend Heather Woodhaven and I are planning to write a book together called The Dangers of Dating a Detective, so we took the local police academy class to find out more about police work. This included driving cop cars through a track as fast as we could. Even though I ran over ALL the orange cones, this experience helped with writing realistic chase scenes.

In A Caffeine Conundrum, Marissa goes up in the bucket of a firetruck to put the star on a Christmas tree. This was inspired by my real life ride in a bucket.

My debut novel included whitewater rafting near Sun Valley. The River Company gave me a free raft trip and let me take all my kids for half price. My son kinda LOVED it.

I did paddle board yoga and aerial yoga for Finding Love in Eureka. (Still need to try goat yoga.)

I drove a convertible to Key West to find out more about Florida for The Princess and the P.I.

I went to the Mob Museum and attended CSI: The Experience in Vegas to learn more about investigation and the FBI.

I volunteered at the Sundance Film Festival to research for Finding Love in Park City.

       We rode a motorcycle to Montana to check out my location for Finding Love in Big Sky.

And most recently I had my writing group stuff me in the trunk of a car to see if I could escape as research for my upcoming cozy mystery, A Cuppa Trouble. They refused to drive around with me in the trunk, and I suppose that would have been a little hard to explain to a police officer had they been pulled over, but it made for a great video!

Now that I’m reading all these crazy things I’ve done, I’m thinking I need to write a story about a writer who keeps getting herself into trouble by researching for her novels. I’ve already have plenty of research for that!

What would you love to write about just so you could research it?


About Angela Ruth Strong

Angela lives in Idaho with her hubby and teenagers. Besides writing, she works at an airline and teaches yoga because she’d rather get paid for her hobbies than actually work. That doesn’t mean writing is easy, but her readers are worth it. Her books have won both Idaho Top Author and the Cascade Award, and she’s had her novels selected as TOP PICK for Romantic Times. She also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors along their journey. She’d love to hear about your journey as well, so feel free to drop her a line at angelaruthstrong@gmail.com.


2 responses to “Ridiculous Research – A Guest Post from Angela Ruth Strong

  1. Paula Shreckhise

    Congratulations for being so creative. It looks like so much fun! Thanks for the informative post!

  2. Thanks, Paula! As a writer, it would be very easy to end up alone behind your computer everyday if you don’t make it fun. As I’m alone behind my computer right now, this article is inspiring me to try something new again soon.

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