Okay, my term paper is due in almost exactly 12 hours, and I’ve written about 3.5 pages out of 12-15. Not bad, all things considered, but I’ve been sidetracked for the last couple of hours researching as much as possible the history of property laws. It’s been years since I’ve done any research like this, and I’m really enjoying it. Everything I read dangles some other carrot in front of me that I want to go investigate.
Neil-Gaiman: But, for a writer, fiction gives you very little you can steal from.
Terry: Whereas you can open an old history book and — bingo!
Neil-Gaiman: Whereas reference books give you huge huge unmined fields to go and explore.
Terry: And no one else reads them now, except us…
Another example of this is Neal Stephenson, who does a ton of research for his novels. Check out Nadia‘s story that her CS professor told her about Stephenson’s research (for better or for worse).
Anyway, I’m enjoying my research, and I’m sad that I’m not going to be able to do nearly as thorough a job of it as I’d like. I feel bad that I can’t go back to the original sources on this material, and instead I’m relying on papers that are referencing the original material that I should be using.