Sunday, March 06, 2011

Grant year, week nine: writing and researching

Had a fairly frustrating visit to State Library on Friday. All my fault -- nothing to do with State Library!

I think, in my head, I imagined a montage scene from a movie about an investigative journalist. Looking through books, newspaper clippings, finding out 'stuff'.

I thought I would just go to the library and find out 'stuff'.

The day got off to a bad start because it was raining and I had to walk from the far end of Southbank, because SLQ's car park is still being repaired after the floods. So, even though I had an umbrella, by the time I got there, my shoes were squelching.

Then I had problems connecting to the shared wifi using my Mac, even though I've used it previously at SLQ and it has worked fine.

I got on one of the SLQ computers and started searching. But my searches were so vague that I may as well have been searching from home. Which, as it turns out, would have been a perfectly viable option for most of what I wanted to do (except I needed to renew my library card).

The last time I did newspaper research for a book was when I was working on '4157'. That was when State Library was inbetween buildings, so I spent the day out at Camp Hill (or maybe it was Cannon Hill). That was a different situation because I had quite a narrow search. I wanted to look at newspapers from specific days so I could see what was in the news that day, and get a feel for the era.

Back to the present, I couldn't find any Brisbane-specific books about tattooing or outlaw motorcycle clubs. The one general book I found about outlaw motorcycle clubs wasn't on the shelf.

I did find a couple of juicy titbits looking through online newspaper archives. There was a big police operation targeting the Finks a while ago. The defence counsel described the MC club as "Rotary but with tattoos".

There was another brief about a bikie who, after getting busted, updated his MySpace status thus: 'Goin to jail... yawn'.

Yesterday, when my wife and I were cleaning out the study I found some Writing Queensland magazines that I've been meaning to get to. In one of them, Kim Wilkins has some advice about research. And one bit is kind of a no-brainer. Basically, it's know what you need to find out before trying to find it. So, I wish I'd read that a couple of months back!

So now I'm thinking, maybe I don't need to research now. Maybe I need to use my writing days to power through the word count, and make a list of all the specific details I need to research. And then, if something major comes up, I'll know it and I'll be able to tackle it if and when it comes up.



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