#Research: It’s Fucking Important. LONG LIVE THE REBEL ACACIA!

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DISCLAIMER: foul language.

Something happened to me today. Something I absolutely have to share with you. Any time you are writing a story that has some basis in reality (which is most of us, though luckily us fantasy writers get away with more), you have to make sure to be accurate. The moment you’re inaccurate–and this includes reneging on things you’ve told the reader–you lose credibility as a writer. Because of this, researching your topics is incredibly important. That’s why sometimes you’ll hear of writers asking completely off-the-wall questions like:

Can someone describe to me the process of starving to death? One of my characters has stopped eating and I get a feeling she’s not coming back from this one.

I once spent several hours researching poisons.

In my novel, ACHILLEA, the language of flowers is used as a mode of communication. Flowers have meanings, after all. The most commonly known is the red rose of romantic love.

I have a scene where two of my characters are meeting in a greenhouse in front of some acacias.

KUDOS TO YOU if you just went “Hm… no, that could never happen.”

When I first wrote it, I googled “Acacia Flower” and I found this:

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I don’t know what possessed me to reevaluate that decision, but today I googled Acacia and I found this:

acacia-flor-3

Which, as you can see, are not even CLOSE to the same thing. I think to myself–after the freak out–“No big deal. I can fix this! I’ll just change the color–WAIT. That looks like it’s on a tree. IS THAT A TREE FLOWER? OMFG IT’S A TREE FLOWER. FUCK ME.”

As it turns out… yes. It’s a tree flower. Wikipedia says so. Now I think, “I can still save this. I’ll just move my characters outside, beneath a tree. Let’s see what this tree looks like.”

It grows on this tree, in fact:

Scanned by:  Retouched by: DT-MB QC'd by: DT-MBLook familiar? Yes? Because that’s totally one of those African Plains trees that you see in THE LION KING.

Can this get any worse? How tall do my characters have to be to touch the flowers on this thing? OH WAIT.

Acacia Tree with Giraffe

Yeah. That IS a fucking giraffe.

In case you need a comparison to how tall an acacia tree is in comparison to a giraffe in comparison to my characters, here:

Slide1

NEEDLESS TO SAY, I don’t think she’ll be touching them thar flowers. *facepalm*

Desperately, I searched the Internet for a solution. I tweeted about my rage. I considered scrapping the scene. I even considered using magic to fuse together acacia and some other greenhouse bound plant like begonias into some sort of hybrid mutant thing I could grow in a greenhouse (it’s entirely possible in my world… but would look like exactly what it was: an author ass-pull to fix a problem as a result of me being an idiot).

MAGIC OCCURRED, but not the Lirin kind. I found the solution to all of my problems.

This rebel acacia tree. It’s not too large. I think my characters can reach it!

acacia

LONG LIVE THE REBEL ACACIA!!!! PRAISE BE!!!!

In conclusion, be careful about what you put in your stories. You don’t want to be immortalized as a complete moron. *facepalm*

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About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on January 17, 2015, in Information, Sam Updates, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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