Chris Johnson's picture
Chris Johnson from Burlington NC is reading The Proud Highway December 14, 2012 - 10:24am

Okay. Let's say you're reading Choke or some other story you like and you come across odd bits of factual data like where the "Ring-Around-The-Rosy" game comes from, you know, the black plague of the 1600s. I find little gems like that occasionally while reading an odd assortment of non-fiction books, or doing research for stories when it comes to topics I know nothing about, but does anyone have a resource for crazy facts and little pieces of errata like that? Any ideas other than conversation-seeding or just tripping across this amazingly interesting stuff while reading? Anybody? Anyone? Thanks.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest December 14, 2012 - 10:46am

As for reasearch, oddly enough, I go to Youtube. If I can't find it there, I Google it. If you're just looking for crazy facts, that I'm not sure of. I do have a book of useless information that I occasionally reference. Have you tried Wikipedia?

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life December 14, 2012 - 10:51am

This newsletter is a huge collection of random factoids - http://dlewis.net/now-i-know/ Every once in a while I get a story germ or some bit of color from it.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK December 14, 2012 - 12:47pm

Don't trust Wikipedia, it's often wrong. Don't trust YouTube or Google, they're worse. Go to a library and borrow some facts books (1000 Things You Never Knew, Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex, Do Bees Have Knees, etc.) then read them.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books December 14, 2012 - 12:52pm

If you want fun bits of insane information, Cracked.com has some great articles on science, history, etc. that are chock full of them and incredibly fun reads. They also source all their facts within the article so if someting strikes your fancy you can just click the link to find more information. I tend to consider them trustworthy because last year I answered their open call to writers and when I got into their workshop and saw how strict they are about facts/fact checking I realized that I don't know enough about any one general topic to write articles like that without a LONG research period.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch December 14, 2012 - 12:57pm

That reminds me: I have a huge folder with info about some odd mental illness of some tribes around the North Pole, with info about fishing and iglu building and pictures, and I was watching youtube videos showing a very unique type of singing in some tribes there, and I was even trying to learn a little of one specific language. Then I dind't write the story.

But I think you can rely on the internet for some info, as long as you check each source against many others and make sure you're not just relying on a conspiracy theory or other fake factoids. I don't think the US government took down the Twin Towers, by the way.

I'm going to make myself useful in the real world now.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money December 14, 2012 - 1:07pm


Let's say you're reading Choke or some other story you like and you come across odd bits of factual data like where the "Ring-Around-The-Rosy" game comes from, you know, the black plague of the 1600s. I find little gems like that occasionally while reading an odd assortment of non-fiction books, or doing research for stories when it comes to topics I know nothing about, but does anyone have a resource for crazy facts and little pieces of errata like that?

I find snopes to be occasionally useful: http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/rosie.asp

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated December 16, 2012 - 1:09pm

I Google people who seem interesting.

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day December 18, 2012 - 1:44pm

Good question. I think the proliferation of information via the internet is making "crazy facts"/head authority a bit less powerful or impressive than it used to be. I started a thread to this effect a while back... the facts re: bomb-making in Fight Club (though they were altered for safety/liability purposes) were a powerful device in 1995... even in '99 with the film adaptation... but today? My Facebook feed just explained to me that the assiassin bug tricks spiders by mimicking prey caught in a web. It kills the spider by stabbing it with its snout, then sucks out the gooey nutrients, then wears the spider's husk/shell as armor. And I didn't even particularly  want to learn that.