One of our newer stories, which will be part of the forthcoming Bound series, features a character who owns a pleasure boat. He used to be a sailor and worked on a fishing trawler, and the group of people he's part of used to run a trawling company.
The only problem is, Rachel and I don't know much about boats.
I mean, they float, right? And they're pretty. Seagulls like them. They have masts with sails. Pirates used to steal them. I saw Pirates of the Carribean and, aside from not being able to spell Caribeane to save my life, that means I know about boats, right?
Off to research we went. I work near a marina with a lot of boats, so the first step was to wander around and poach. Boats, not fish. I'd send pictures to Rachel for boats that I liked, and we found a couple brand names. Then the real work began. Rachel looked up the brands on the internet and we ran smack into our first problem.
Apparently, "boat" isn't a very precise moniker.
We had to learn the right definition for the size of boat our character owns. Does he fish with it? Is it a sailboat?
Does it have a shower? (You'd be surprised; this is an important question; not all boats have them.)
We finally settled on a boat we both like. We've been working on the scenes with this particular boat so when you read it, you'll have to see if you can tell whether we did our research well or sound like land-lubbers.
And next time someone gives you a hard time for internet surfing because you got curious about the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Tell 'em, "It's Research!" with a capital "R".