From Magnolia Trees to Things That Go ‘Bump’ in the Night

Magnolia Grandiflora - Clearwater FL

Magnolia Grandiflora – Clearwater FL (Amazon has them, too – click!)

Research for Folded Dreams – it’s not all about things that go bump in the night!

As I was reading over my manuscript for the novel, I noticed that there might be a discrepancy between the season portrayed – autumn – and the presence of ‘massive flower buds’ on the character’s magnolia tree. Being a Florida resident where everything grows all year ’round, it had never occurred to me until now that it might be an issue.

‘Ava paused, pen still poised over the paper, to stare out of the livingroom window. There were angry black clouds on the horizon, roiling across the sky in her direction, and a cruel wind was whipping her beautiful magnolia tree all around, as if it was being beaten by a giant hand. She watched as massive flower buds went flying from the branches in every direction and jumped when one hit her plate glass window with a sharp “thwap!” ‘

For the most part, the Southern Magnolia – m. grandiflora – (typically a more tropical flowering tree) will bud in late winter in preparation for a showy array of huge, beautifully fragranced, creamy white flowers in early spring. But I had forgotten that even Florida experiences fairly cold weather and that the magnolia does go dormant at those times…gasp!

magnolia-southern

…of course, some dwarf magnolia trees can be grown in pots (Amazon has those, too – click! 🙂 )

In Folded Dreams, this particular autumn is relatively mild, with balmy breezes and only the scent of fall in the air, but plant life – like humans – can follow Nature’s clock, regardless of how she’s acting. It stands to reason that there is a possibility that my magnolia shouldn’t oughtta have buds or even “fruits”, those leftover pods after the tree has flowered.

For all that I try to make sure the majority of science, history, technologies and terminologies are believable in Folded Dreams, it would be a heck of a note that I screwed up something as simple as whether or not this tree has ever been known to set, bloom or fruit in November, even if the temperatures cooperated!

” ‘M. grandiflora’ is a large, rounded evergreen shrub or tree with glossy dark green, leathery, oblong-elliptic leaves, often rusty-brown beneath, and highly fragrant, cup-shaped, cream flowers to 25cm across in late summer and autumn. In warm summers, these can be followed by striking, knobbly seed pods, from which bright red seeds emerge in early to late autumn. “

Whew! I don’t have to change those two chapters. Folded Dreams is safe – and the magnolia tree can go on thrashing about in the angry winds and throw all the buds at Ava that it cares to!

Advertisements

“Where do you go for research?”

While I may be only beginning my book publishing journey, I’ve been publishing posts and articles on other blogs and websites since 1996. I retired as a content writer for my last employer’s company and his main concern was summed up thus: “Where do you go for research?”

imagescalo7bjd

My final employment was with a telemedical services company. The owner eventually approached me to work with his social media manager to learn to write content for our company web and blog sites. He also requested that I post original content about the subject of telemedicine on two of my own blogs.

I learned a lot working under ‘Shell (the social media coordinator). She was a brilliant teacher and mentor and not only understood exactly what content was needed, but suggested professional websites that would help insure the accuracy of my posts. Ultimately, my preferred research sites were under thimagesca94x3kne auspices of John’s Hopkins Hospital and University, the Mayo Clinic, JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIHL (National Institute of Health Library) and the research libraries that Duke University, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Oxford make available to the general public.

When I began to evolve my book, Folded Dreams – the Beginning, into novel form, I made full use of the experiences I’ve had with these online resources. Beyond having used these resources for research on previous site content, however, I have learned a good bit more about using my favourite search engine, Google, to research such subjects as physics, theology and religion, neurology, psychology and history (both social and geographical). And of course, I still research the old school way.

Go old school: read a book!

        Go old school: read a book!

From the results of my searches, I have come in contact with writers and authors, individuals who are experienced in the publishing world, whether as lay or professional persons, physics professors and students, clerics – including priests, rabbi’s and teachers of eastern mystical religions – and a number of other writer’s resource materials.

When I have completed Folded Dreams, the novel, rest assured that, while what is written may not be factual, it is done so purposefully. It is, as I have many times stated, a work of fiction after all.

I hope this post as to where I go for research helps those who are not yet familiar with my work, whether as an author or a site administrator/content writer, to understand that I take authorship very, very seriously. Let it not be said that amateurs can be spotted a mile away!

Speaking of which, there are only 15 days left to enter my Goodreads Giveaway, where you can win 1 of 10 print copies of my precursor book, “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”!