Saturday, July 2, 2011

Man Class Reading Materials

Last night I babysat my two-year old nephew while his family went to watch the Canada Day fireworks. Edward was asleep the entire time, so I took the opportunity to sit within earshot and pull out my laptop to get my writing done.

Do you know how much research is required to write a piece of fiction? It surprised me when I first started writing. For each chapter I write, I usually have a list of five or six things I need to research so I make sure they sound authentic. Multiple that by 26 chapters or so and I spend half my writing time researching. This is fine when I make the research list ahead of time, go to the library and have all my research ready to go, but more often than not, I start writing and then realize I need the background to make the details seem realistic, and do a hasty Google search for the info so I cab get what I need quick and keep going.

Last night, the topic I needed was building a fire. I have built many fires in my life, as recently as last weekend, so I am pretty well versed in fire building tactics. I wrote away happily, adding all the details of fire-making (and the frustrations it always includes) to make my scene realistic and compelling. Then my characters needed to start the flame and it occurred to me:

"Wait a minute. They don't have matches. How do you light a fire without matches?"

I hastily open my internet browser and typed "How to light a fire without matches" into Google. This was the top hit:

Given my previous post and the fact I am always fascinated with how guys acquire their mad man skills, I had to laugh out loud. After contemplating and researching the concept of the secret man class for seven months, I had inadvertently stumbled across their curriculum!

Take a look around the website, it's pretty entertaining and surprisingly educational. Not only did I learn how to start a fire with friction, I learned the art of opening a door for a woman, how to properly iron a dress shirt, and how to shoot a rifle.

For further reading on my favourite funny research project, check out the following pages on the Art of Manliness: How to Make Your Own Manly Bar of Soap; How to Bowl a Strike; How to Hail a Taxi Cab . . . Like a Man!; 22 Manly Ways to Reuse an Altoids Tin; How to Take Care of a Pregnant Wife.

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