I'm about 20k words into my new WIP, and it's been a pretty fascinating ride so far (er, to me). This one seems to be coming slow and steady, in part because it's complicated and I'm still figuring things out, and in part because my job has been incredibly demanding lately. I took a pause yesterday afternoon to plot my way through the next 30k words or so (I usually do a broad outline with lots of notes, then create more detailed scene-by-scene maps, connecting the "dots" of the big moments). I also did some more research.
I don't know how you guys do this, but when I get going on research, I really go. It's a little like Alice down the rabbit hole. Sometimes I follow a thread that ends up being irrelevant to the WIP, but I don't mind because I learn a lot of new stuff and I think it's just part of the process. To show you what it's like, I've created a map of my research-y thoughts and searches from one afternoon. But beware. There are spoilers down there. Somewhere. Maybe.
There we go. That is ... pretty much what the inside of my head is like. For most of those boxes (plus several others I couldn't fit onto the page), I did multiple searches, followed hyperlinks, cross-checked facts, explored related topics, and occasionally watched instructional or informational videos. For some, the search wasn't quite as intense--like for "sundresses", I was just looking for something to describe my MC as wearing, because fashion for my characters is not exactly my strong suit (heh). Then I went scampering back to my WIP outline and frantically typed notes to myself, tying things together and mapping things out.
If your brain works like mine does, then you are now privy to my entire plot, so SHHH! Don't tell! If you're wondering about my organizational skills ... bwahahaha! I'm well known at work for having the messiest office in the suite. I get a lot done, but my organizational style is idiosyncratic at best.
What's your research process like? Do you chase down every thread in order to be completely accurate? Do the minimum because you don't want it to interfere with your creativity? Get it all done up front? Pick up information as you go? What would your research map look like?
Remember to check out Lydia's Medical Monday post and Laura's Mental Health Monday post (Laura's is a must-see today)!