Science Lesson Monday: The Scale of the Universe 2

I think I might be strange among writers in that I don’t really like doing research.

I have friends who will get lost in research, so much so that, if they had their druthers, they’d never get around to writing.  They get lost in the minutiae, and how one bit of information leads to another like breadcrumbs through a dark and scary forest full of birds just waiting to feast on that bread, if you just divert your attention away for one blasted second.  They find the writing to be the hard part, the part where all that research calls for integration, wants to sit at your table and demands tea when you don’t have any tea, and wants cookies when all you have are scones.

In truth, it’s is not that I don’t like research.  It is simply that I like writing more (because writing for me is an act of creation rather than integration).  And, more importantly, because I feel like I’m doing research all the time, in every non-fiction book I read, and in every science-y website I get lost in.

Like this one: The Scale of the Universe 2.

In my head (whether or not it actually works this way), when I’m writing the knowledge that I’ve accumulated through reading comes out.  It’s research put into practice via osmosis rather than direct use via notes taken for the specific scene/plot/character.

Of course, this makes it sound like I never research.  When there’s a specific problem that needs addressing — such as, How does fire work in zero gravity? or How long would it take to fly out past Pluto? — then research is very important.  But that’s where a librarian-esque girlfriend comes in handy.

On my own, I find myself drawn into objet des sciences like the above.  I become fascinated by the details embedded inside (such as the Great Attractor, which I’d never heard of before), and those details worm themselves into my brain until, when I’m writing, I find them attached to my words, determining the specifics of a plot point I hadn’t considered needing a solution until just that moment.

All that aside, you should simply take a look at that website.  It’s beautiful and strange and funny.  Also a little mind-blowing.

Okay, a lot.

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