Research for Fiction Writers

Research for Fiction Writers – Best Lawyer Name Ever

There's another word for “research for fiction writers.” Procrastination.

So this morning, I was almost ready to write when I figured I needed two more pieces of information before I could begin.

The first one was to find out what you call a lawyer in the United States.

In Denmark, where I grew up, they are called “advokater.” But I've heard them called lawyers, solicitors, barristers, attorneys and more in English.

I didn't want to anything to confuse me while being creative, so I figured this would be my first task. Therefore, I did a search for “what do you call a lawyer.”

That Was My First Mistake

Most of the results were links to joke sites… I had to read a few and I guess that detour lasted about 15 minutes.

Cough. Back to serious work. I finally found the answer on WikiPedia. Pro tip: Start with WikiPedia, not Google or Bing.

Good. Done. Now to name the guy.

First Names for Lawyers

Very interesting. I found that there's a pattern for lawyer's first names. “John” is a winner name. So if you're expecting a son and you want him to grow up to become a lawyer, that should make a nice choice.

Interestingly, it was far from the only name that also serves as a nickname. We also have “Richard.”

I went with “Michael” which I found more subtle.

Michael Lawyer

This only took me… dunno, another 15 minutes? There were some interesting comments on that blog post. I especially liked the one by Sarah (married to David), both lawyers, both names on the list.

Finding My Surname

My first idea was “Meyer” but I found it too much of a stereotyped name. Then I thought of “Smith” but found it too ordinary. So I thought that now that I was doing research anyway, why not look up a few lawyers?

I found a lawfirm in the neighborhood of my hero and there – among the lawyers – one was called “Onest.”

Of course I couldn't help imagining the lawyer in different situations, like the following:

“Hi, I'm Onest. I'm a lawyer.” I bet that can break the ice even at a party at the “Shy and Introverts Club.”

But eventually, I found my surname as well and was finally, after only one hour, ready to write. Which I didn't.

Research for Fiction Writers – Best Done Outside of Writing Time

My process for writing a novel (or in this case a novella) is that I come up with the idea, find the characters, create a rough outline (8 to 15 points), and then on the day I write, I detail outline the scenes beforehand.

The detailed outlining normally takes me from 30 to 60 minutes, and then I'm ready to write. Since it took an extra hour today, due to my procrastination research, I didn't feel like writing anymore. Of course, a deal with myself is a deal, so I wrote 16 words.

But really. Do yourself a favor and do all the research you can do at other times than when you plan to work. Otherwise you end up – like me – no longer feeling like writing that day. And yes, I know I should have pushed through and written anyway, but I'm ahead of my schedule, so I could allow myself a non-writing day.



2 thoughts on “Research for Fiction Writers – Best Lawyer Name Ever”

  1. I fully agree with your statement. Beginning with Wikipedia IS a sure way to get information, whereas both Google and Bing are more focused on supplying ads and ‘content considered better based on SEO’, which is quite a problem. People are so used to using Google that we even have the word ‘googling’ when you do a search for a subject…

    Old habits die hard, and therefore many have Google (or Bing) as their primary website once the browser starts up. Pros would have Twitter and Blogger as their two primary websites – at least I have these, because Twitter brings me far more information than Google does.

    BTW, when Bing came on the scene they seemed to provide better search results, but nowadays it seems they are so identical to Google that the whole point in having a new search engine is gone.

    Thanks for your thoughts – have a nice day. 🙂

    1. I use as my start page in all browsers. It allows me to have my most used links, my to-do list, my calendar, temperatures and weather for chosen cities around the world as well as the time in other cities.

      I stopped using Twitter when it became bot-intervene-with-bot several years ago. Pity, I liked the place, and yes, it was a great source of news. That’s where I learned about the passing of Michael Jackson years ago, way before the news sites caught the info.

      There’s still use for Bing. I hear that they are a much better partner when you’re running ads with them. But okay… that doesn’t say much. I doubt that you can find worse partner than Google AdWords for your ads.

      Thank you for leaving a comment and have a nice day, you too 🙂

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