searching for socks I probably do this kind of searching more often. Argh! Where is that extra sock???

Strangest Browser Searches

strangest browser searches

I was tagged by fellow author Abbey Stellingwerf for the Strangest Browser Searches tag created by Madeline J. Rose.

The rules:

  • Access to your browser history and look through it.
  • Pick at least 5 of your strangest searches you’ve had to look up as a writer.
  • List them below with a short explanation as to why exactly you had to look them up.
  • Tag 2-5 other bloggers.

A few caveats

Let me say before I begin that research is not my strong suit as a writer. Part of the reason I love writing in the “genre of imagination” as I call it, is because I get to make lots of stuff up. I don’t really care so much about whether it fits with this reality, I’m writing about that one.

Even as a reader, I’m more concerned with the internal consistency of the world than whether or not it would make sense in this one. Which is why I enjoy C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. Pretty much most of George MacDonald’s works fall into the “who cares about corresponding to reality?” philosophy as well.

That said, I’ve learned that for some readers, this can be a sticking point. So I’ve learned to adapt. Particularly when it comes to fight scenes and what the human body is capable of enduring and dishing out, I’ve had to learn that Action Hero Movies do not qualify as genuine research.

Even so, I still don’t do all that much researching. I’m more likely to go to Google Translate and do etymological research than anything. I’ve probably done that hundreds of times. Because the names of things and characters are very important to me. Nonetheless, I’ve done my fair share of those other kinds of searches over the years.

So, now that you know that, hopefully you’ll pardon me if my searches are not as strange or interesting as they could be. But enough introduction, let’s get searching!

searching for socks

I probably do this kind of searching more often. Argh! Where is that extra sock???

Les searches

(can you tell French was my worst subject in High School?)

Walking on sprained ankle without pain killers impossible

This was one of my most recent searches. I have a main character in my scifi series who gets hurt. A lot. Probably too much. But he is able to shut off any sensations of pain when he wants to, so I wondered if a sprained ankle would keep him from walking or not.

Turns out most people could probably walk on a sprained ankle if they felt no pain. But in certain cases, even without pain the ankle isn’t stable enough to keep you steady. At least according to the internet sites I found.

Tree sap shoe repair

Here’s another one I was doubtful about. In one scene from my unreleased fantasy novel, a character repairs some shoes with tree sap and some bits of leather. One of my beta readers thought it sounded far fetched, but I looked it up and I found out that, yes, in theory, this should work. However, not a lot of people seem to be doing it, so there wasn’t a ton of information on this one. Still, based on what I found, I decided to keep the detail in the novel.

Does moss grow underground

That same beta reader (I’m guessing she likes research more than I do) also pointed out that I had moss growing in some underground tunnels and that moss doesn’t grow underground.

So I looked it up, and found out that on this one she was entirely correct.

I would like to point out that in C.S. Lewis’ Silver Chair there is also moss growing underground, so I don’t feel quite so bad about getting this one wrong.

Woad dye

woad warrior - Mel Gibson in Braveheart

This guy is one of the many things that might come up if you search for ‘woad’

In this same fantasy novel, the characters also walk through fields of woad. The main character, being a tailor, wishes he could bring some back home for the beautiful dye it would make.

I think I looked up the woad planet itself as well. Turns out that though this plant is bright yellow, the dye it produces is actually blue.

This is one I actually looked up before I put it into the story, so maybe there is hope for me as a researcher yet.

Medieval fair contests

This one is for an upcoming book that is still in the planning phase. A Spring Festival features prominently in the opening chapters, so I wanted to find out what they were like. What I learned is that most fairs, at least the English ones, usually lasted quite a long time and town had to get special permission from the king to have them. They also often commemorated some special event that was important to the town.

This definitely gave me lots of ideas for who to approach writing this part of the story.

Bonus tip

As a parting shot, here’s a tip for all you die-hard researchers out there. Did you know that if you’re finding a lot of results in your searches that you don’t want, there is a way to filter them out? Just type in a minus (-) in front of the word you don’t want and the search engine should remove results featuring that keyword.

For instance, when I was searching about tree sap and shoes, most of the searches that came up were for removing tree sap from shoes, but that wasn’t what I was interested. So the actual search words I used were something more along these lines:

tree sap shoe repair -removing

This little trick has helped me an awful lot over the years, so I thought I’d pass it on to all you intrepid internet detectives out there.

Going out the door, I tag the following authors to share their strangest browser searches:

J.L. Mbewe
Jenelle Schmidt
Deborah O’Carrol

Author DJ Edwardson's seal of approval

Comments (6)

  1. Abbey Stellingwerff August 22, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Yay! I’m so glad that you did the tag!
    I relate to that laundromat picture just a little too much. I’m missing one of my favorite socks. *sighs heavily*
    Hee hee, poor Aden. He does get hurt a lot. It’s interesting to know that in some cases, you’d still be able to walk on a sprained ankle. I remember when I had a sprained wrist I could still do stuff with it (although it did hurt).
    Hmmm, maybe next time I break a shoe, I’ll try and fix it with tree sap. I’ll write a blog post on it and then there will be more research out there. 😀
    Wow! I didn’t know that towns needed permission from the king to do festivals. I guess that makes sense since they lasted so long. I bet not too many people worked during festival time.
    Madeline created such a fun tag! I loved reading your searches.

    • DJ Edwardson August 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Yes, thank you so much for tagging me! As I said, it was a bit of a challenge, but it was a lot of fun. Lots to learn out there on the internet, isn’t there. We’re really spoiled as writers in this age with access to all sorts of esoteric information at our fingertips.

      If you do decide to repair your shoes with pine sap, let me know how it goes! That would certainly be a unique post!

  2. Jenelle August 23, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Hahah, oh dear. I fear that I am your nit-picky research-crazy beta reader! I recognized myself in at least one of those stories!

    Thanks for tagging me… will have to go look and see what I can come up with!

    • DJ Edwardson August 24, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Hmm, I do remember your comments about when apples were in season or and about whether it was cold enough in certain scenes, but I’m not sure about the others. Those comments were great, by the way! Sometimes it’s hard to be “in the moment” as a writer in every scene. You miss such obvious things (or you simply don’t know certain facts like about moss or apples growing habits!) and when you get feedback like that it leads to a lot of head-slapping moments. 🙂

      Can’t wait to see your searches. I’m pretty confident they will be way more interesting than mine!

      • Jenelle August 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Eh, I’m not sure… my searches tend to be kind of mundane… unless you take them out of the “I am an author” context… then they can be kind of amusing.

        Thanks for the – tip! That’s going to be so helpful in the future!

  3. Pingback: Jenelle Schmidt Strangest Browser Searches

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