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Research can be a pill, but with the right attitude it also can be lots of fun (I imagine that Rick Riordan really enjoyed the research for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series). I spent yesterday afternoon looking up a certain kind of monster that will appear in my third book, Xsardis. I first looked at images to gather ides for the structure of the monster. Then I used Wikipedia to gather ideas for its mannerisms. My research has only just begun but it was fun. The best part will be when I mix the legends, facts and my own imagination to create the monster you will meet in November 2011 (if all goes according to plan).

When I created Smolden in Issym, I knew a fair bit about dragons so I did not do as much research as I probably should have (back then I thought research was boring; I was wrong. It is like a game.) but I did use one source–the Bible. Job 41 does a really good description of the leviathan so I used that as a base.

My advice for research is not just to look at measurements and statistics but to read into legends and gather inspiration from pictures and conversations you have with others. Draw on what you found interesting, what caused dreams after you did the research. My dragon appeared in my dreams twice–just about scared me to death, but it gave me a better concept for him. I knew how he moved, thought, breathed and stalked. I knew the fear my characters would feel and their wonder at the mighty beast. Do not skip on research. Making your book believable is really important!

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