First off, Massage Therapist is the preferred term, not masseuse or masseur. The latter names have negative connotations. I’ll explain why in a minute.

Massage Therapy is the medical science of body work. Essentially, as my teacher has explained, massage therapists are ‘doctors of muscles.’ A massage therapist must know almost every muscle in the body; not only that, but they must know insertion and origin (attachment points/ the way the muscle pulls), the actions, the innervations, and other little tidbits that pop up along the way. A massage therapist must also know about skin, bones, and general body functions; a typical certification course will include extensive anatomy and physiology.

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ihavesoiledit asked: I’m writing a post-zombie apocalypse story and I want to use a call girl as one of the main characters. Any idea how to write one properly?

I’m not sure there is one “proper” way to write a prostitute. Prostitutes come from all walks of life and become prostitutes for many, many different reasons. Sex acts vary between prostitutes (for example, some specialize in fetishes). There are also a wide variety of ways to handle things like payment and safety. Time period and location make a huge difference in this profession as well.

I just feel like your question is very vague, but I hope you’ll narrow down your research a bit until your questions can become more specific. Once you’ve done that, you could try to find a few prostitutes (or former prostitutes) to interview about their experiences. I’ve never been a call girl, but maybe some of WriteWorld’s fellow writers might be able to help you out. Anyone?

This subject struck my fancy, so I did some poking about on the internet. Here is some information on prostitution for you:

Random (and maybe interesting) links:


Reddit IAmAs:

Anyway, I hope this helps. Be sure to do your own research away from the internet as well. Interview current and/or former prostitutes. Read books (here’s a book list from GoodReads titled “Sex Worker Memoirs”) and articles about prostitution. And always remember that prostitutes are people just like you are a person. There is more to them than their profession just like there is more to you than your writing. Their profession is a part of their personal history and their human experience, but it is not the only thing about them worth knowing. So it goes with prostitutes, and so it goes with your character. 

Thanks for your question!


Well, this is a pretty darn vague question, my dear. I think you’d be best served by first taking some time to figure out which drugs your character is addicted to. That will help narrow down the field of information for your research.

In the meantime:

Remember to do plenty of research away from Tumblr. Here are a few resources to get you started:

You could also look into books on drug abuse. Here are a few lists:

Definitely find some people, either people you know and can talk to in person or people online, who have experienced an addiction to the same drug(s) your character is addicted to. I say “people” here because not everyone experiences addiction in the same way. Not everyone becomes an addict for the same reasons. People are addicts for different lengths of time and at different points in their lives. Talking to two or more people will help you get an idea of the scope of addiction to the drug(s) of your choice.

When you conduct these interviews, be sure to have done your homework ahead of time. Ask the questions you came up with during your research and that will inform your portrayal of your character’s addiction. Be respectful. 

Also please remember that people with an addiction are still people just like you are a person. They are not their addiction any more than you are the language you speak or the color of your skin. Their addiction is a part of their personal history and their human experience, but it is not the only thing about them worth knowing. So it goes with real-life addicts, and so it goes with your character. 

Alright. I hope these links and such help you out. 


The most suspenseful series since Breaking Bad is back with its third episode. This time it’s about research. The reason I put the “non” in parentheses up there is because, as we’ve stated before, research is vital to anyone doing any sort of writing. So even though this article is geared toward a non-fiction writer, you’ll probably find it useful if you’re fiction writer.

We’re going to cover a bunch of different methods of research. Some of these methods won’t effective for every person and every project, but this general overview should be helpful. This is by no means every research skill or concept that you will ever need.

Important disclaimer before we get rolling: This post isn’t about doing original research. Original research, e.g. crunching one’s own statistics, conducting interviews, and things like this, are all very important parts of doing research, but vary far and wide by field. The methods for compiling qualitative and quantitative research are amazingly diverse and certainly couldn’t be answered here. For this, post, we’re sticking to book learnin’. And, you know, similar things. 

First, let’s talk about the Internet.

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simonisagirl asked: "Hi! Can you help me with a little problem? How would one come about writing a character who is coming-to after fainting? Are there any specific techniques or scenes to use? Clichès to stay away from?"


It doesn’t happen in the same way for everyone, but there are a few things you might want to keep in mind.

  1. Someone’s senses might not all come back at the same time. Sometimes, someone is able to hear what’s happening around them before seeing it, or the other way around. Regaining your consciousness isn’t a sudden process, and therefore not all senses would be completely functioning at the same time. However, it is usually just a matter of seconds. It’s definitely not like someone will be able to see everything before hearing it for minutes.
  2. Some of the symptoms one had before they fainted may continue afterwards. Nausea, deep and fast breathing, lightheaded.-ness, confusion and ringing in ears are some of the most common indicators that someone is going to faint, and they are likely to continue after the person ‘wakes up’. 
  3. Not everyone wakes up not knowing where they are. This is something usually seen in movies, when the person becomes conscious and asks the question “where am I?”. This is likely to happen if they are somewhere where they have never been, but if they faint in a place they’re familiar with, they’re likely to know where they are.
  4. Some people don’t remember what they were doing before fainting. I only fainted two times in my life. The second time it happened„ I remember perfectly what I was doing, what was happening around me and exactly what I said before fainting. I even knew I was going to faint. However, the first time I fainted, I can only remember being peacefully doing one thing and then the next moment, bam, someone is slapping my face and pouring water all over my face. This usually depends on how bad your health is when you faint. The first time I fainted, I was completely dehydrated and with no food whatsoever in my system, but the second time, which is when I remember everything, I was already being treated at the hospital. However, it doesn’t always happen like this, and there are other reasons why people don’t always remember what was happening before they fainted.

Apart from this, I don’t think there is any specific scene or technique you need to use. Try to research on what happens to people who faint for the same reason your character does, and work from there. 

I hope this helped!

I’m not sure where whataboutwriting got their information, but here are a few more resources for information on fainting:

As you said, we’re a writing blog, not a science or medical blog.

However, as I am kind (300 reference), here are a few resources for you:

Hang on a second.

I started to do a lot of Googling in order to pad out this response with more links, then I realized that the answer to your question is that every illness is terminal under the right conditions. Depending on the patient, an infection from a hangnail or a case of the sniffles can be fatal if they are not properly treated. Have you ever watched House? That TV show, while at times wildly inaccurate, is just bubbling over with examples of how the simplest medical conditions can completely decimate the human body.

If House can do it, you can do it better.

I don’t think you’re approaching this issue properly. Instead of groping blinding for the perfect illness, start with the symptoms. What are the symptoms you want your character to have? Fatigue? Bleeding from the ears? Tumors? Sensitivity to light? Whatever they are, they’ll be easier for you to come up with than a name for a medical condition, I can tell you that right off the bat. (Unless it’s cancer.) (It’s probably going to end up being cancer.) (But maybe not!) 

You might have to whittle down your symptoms list as you search for illnesses to fit your story, or you might add some as time goes on, but you have to start somewhere. From the bottom up is always easier and more practical than from the top down. After all, that’s how the real doctors do it!

Figure out what your symptoms need to be for your story/character development to make sense, then start mining for resources to discern what might cause those symptoms. After doing as much research as you can, you will need to consult with a medical professional to discuss your work so far and get any questions you have answered. If you don’t have questions for an expert after doing your own research, do more research.

For more on how to proceed with research, see this post for tips

You were right. This is not really a question for us. I know it’s hard and time-consuming and scary, but you must must must do your own research. 

Thank you for your message.



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Hello fellow writers!

WriteWorld has a new policy on questions about research that we would like to share with you:

WriteWorld reserves the right to decline to do research (especially basic, single-search research) for fellow writers.

Questions posed to WriteWorld regarding research topics…

Just wanted to put this one back out there.

- O

Finding the information you need as a writer shouldn’t be a chore. Luckily, there are plenty of search engines out there that are designed to help you at any stage of the process, from coming up with great ideas to finding a publisher to get your work into print. Both writers still in college and those on their way to professional success will appreciate this list of useful search applications that are great from making writing a little easier and more efficient.


Find other writers, publishers and ways to market your work through these searchable databases and search engines.

  1. Litscene: Use this search engine to search through thousands of writers and literary projects, and add your own as well.
  2. Get a boost in your creativity with some assistance from this site.
  3. PoeWar: Whether you need help with your career or your writing, this site is full of great searchable articles.
  4. Publisher’s Catalogues: Try out this site to search through the catalogs and names of thousands of publishers.
  5. Edit Red: Through this site you can showcase your own work and search through work by others, as well as find helpful FAQ’s on writing.
  6. Writersdock: Search through this site for help with your writing, find jobs and join other writers in discussions.
  7. PoetrySoup: If you want to find some inspirational poetry, this site is a great resource.
  8. Here, you can search through a wide range of self-published books.
  9. One Stop Write Shop: Use this tool to search through the writings of hundreds of other amateur writers.
  10. Writer’s Cafe: Check out this online writer’s forum to find and share creative works.
  11. Literary Marketplace: Need to know something about the publishing industry? Use this search tool to find the information you need now.


These helpful tools will help you along in the writing process.

  1. WriteSearch: This search engine focuses exclusively on sites devoted to reading and writing to deliver its results.
  2. The Burry Man Writers Center: Find a wealth of writing resources on this searchable site.
  3. This fully-featured site makes it possible to find information both fun and serious about the craft of writing.
  4. Purdue OWL: Need a little instruction on your writing? This tool from Purdue University can help.
  5. Writing Forums: Search through these writing forums to find answers to your writing issues.


Try out these tools to get your writing research done in a snap.

  1. Google Scholar: With this specialized search engine from Google, you’ll only get reliable, academic results for your searches.
  2. WorldCat: If you need a book from the library, try out this tool. It’ll search and find the closest location.
  3. Scirus: Find great scientific articles and publications through this search engine.
  4. OpenLibrary: If you don’t have time to run to a brick-and-mortar library, this online tool can still help you find books you can use.
  5. Online Journals Search Engine: Try out this search engine to find free online journal articles.
  6. All Academic: This search engine focuses on returning highly academic, reliable resources.
  7. LOC Ask a Librarian: Search through the questions on this site to find helpful answers about the holdings at the Library of Congress.
  8. This search engine can help you find basic encyclopedia articles.
  9. Clusty: If you’re searching for a topic to write on, this search engine with clustered results can help get your creative juices flowing.
  10. Intute: Here you’ll find a British search engine that delivers carefully chosen results from academia.
  11. AllExperts: Have a question? Ask the experts on this site or search through the existing answers.


Need to look up a quote or a fact? These search tools make it simple.

  1. Writer’s Web Search Engine: This search engine is a great place to find reference information on how to write well.
  2. Bloomsbury Magazine Research Centre: You’ll find numerous resources on publications, authors and more through this search engine.
  3. Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus: Make sure you’re using words correctly and can come up with alternatives with the help of this tool.
  4. Find all the reference material you could ever need through this search engine.
  5. If you need a quote, try searching for one by topic or by author on this site.
  6. Literary Encyclopedia: Look up any famous book or author in this search tool.
  7. Acronym Finder: Not sure what a particular acronym means? Look it up here.
  8. Bartleby: Through Bartleby, you can find a wide range of quotes from famous thinkers, writers and celebrities.
  9. Just about anything and everything you could want to look up is found on this site.
  10. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Find all the great philosophers you could want to reference in this online tool.

Niche Writers

If you’re focusing on writing in a particular niche, these tools can be a big help.

  1. PubGene: Those working in sci-fi or medical writing will appreciate this database of genes, biological terms and organisms.
  2. GoPubMd: You’ll find all kinds of science and medical search results here.
  3. Jayde: Looking for a business? Try out this search tool.
  4. Zibb: No matter what kind of business you need to find out more about, this tool will find the information.
  5. TechWeb: Do a little tech research using this news site and search engine.
  6. Google Trends: Try out this tool to find out what people are talking about.
  7. Godchecker: Doing a little work on ancient gods and goddesses? This tool can help you make sure you have your information straight.
  8. Healia: Find a wide range of health topics and information by using this site.
  9. Sci-Fi Search: Those working on sci-fi can search through relevant sites to make sure their ideas are original.


Find your own work and inspirational tomes from others by using these search engines.

  1. Literature Classics: This search tool makes it easy to find the free and famous books you want to look through.
  2. InLibris: This search engine provides one of the largest directories of literary resources on the web.
  3. SHARP Web: Using this tool, you can search through the information on the history of reading and publishing.
  4. AllReaders: See what kind of reviews books you admire got with this search engine.
  5. BookFinder: No matter what book you’re looking for you’re bound to find it here.
  6. ReadPrint: Search through this site for access to thousands of free books.
  7. Google Book Search: Search through the content of thousands upon thousands of books here, some of which is free to use.
  8. Indie Store Finder: If you want to support the little guy, this tool makes it simple to find an independent bookseller in your neck of the woods.


For web writing, these tools can be a big help.

  1. Technorati: This site makes it possible to search through millions of blogs for both larger topics and individual posts.
  2. Google Blog Search: Using this specialized Google search engine, you can search through the content of blogs all over the web.
  3. Domain Search: Looking for a place to start your own blog? This search tool will let you know what’s out there.
  4. OpinMind: Try out this blog search tool to find opinion focused blogs.
  5. IceRocket: Here you’ll find a real-time blog search engine so you’ll get the latest news and posts out there.
  6. PubSub: This search tool scours sites like Twitter and Friendfeed to find the topics people are talking about most every day.

Source: writingadvice


I get a lot of Asks from people who say they Googled their topic but didn’t find anything. Then I Google it and find a ton of resources. I prefer to think that this is because internet research can be daunting, so I am putting together this little guide in hopes of making internet research a little easier.

Step One - Reduce your topic to the fewest number of words you can and try Googling it. For example, if your protagonist is a fireman, try Googling:

  • Fireman
  • Firemen

Step Two - Put the information you need into question form and Google it. For example, for your fireman character, you will need to know what it’s like to actually be a fireman. Try Googling:

  • What’s it like to be a fireman?
  • What does a fireman do?
  • What is a fireman’s life like?

Step Three - Think of different statements that describe the information you’re looking for. For example, if you want to know what it’s like in a firehouse, try Googling:

  • Life inside a firehouse
  • Fireman daily routines

Step Four - See if there are any alternative words you could use to describe your topic and Google those. For example:

  • Fireman/Firefighter
  • Firehouse/Fire Station/Fire Department
  • Fire Truck/Fire Engine

Step Five - Search for personal points-of-view by searching for blogs, interviews, forum posts, and experience essays. Using a fireman as an example, you could search for:

  • "Fireman Blog"
  • "Interview with a firefighter"
  • "My experience as a firefighter"

You can also search for an IamA (I am a…), which is a form of Ask Me Anything on Reddit. IamAs are posted by people with interesting jobs or careers who open themselves up to questions from other Reddit members. Reading through an IamA on your topic (if there is one) is a great way to learn from the personal point-of-view of an expert.

Step Six - Search for your topic on YouTube. I know it sounds crazy, but just do it. You never know what you might find. Case in point:

Now, Let’s Talk About Results:

When you type a search term into Google, you’re likely to get millions of results. That can be very daunting if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for. So, how do you wade through all of that information to find what you need?

To start with, you should be able to find enough information to help you within the first three pages of results. As you read down each page of results, just ignore things that obviously don’t pertain to your search, and when you see something that might pertain to your search, right-click on the result and then left-click “open in a new tab” to save it for later. 

Let’s take a look at what comes up for “fireman”:


Clearly, we’re not looking for a Lil Wayne song, so we can ignore that. Definitions might offer helpful information, but you probably already know the definition of your topic. Images can be helpful, but ignore them unless you need a visual. Wikipedia articles, though not always accurate, are always worth opening. The article will give you a helpful overview of the topic—just make sure to double-check any facts you note down. So, one result for the first page isn’t bad. Pages two and three offered a few more worth opening.

Now, let’s look at the results for “interview with a firefighter”:


Any search for a career plus “interview” is likely to bring up tips for people who are interviewing for a job in that career. In this case, most of the results on the first page were interviewing tips for prospective firefighters. However, there was one helpful hit—a video interview with a firefighter. That is exactly what we were looking for, so we’ll open up that tab. Once again, pages two and three had a few more links to actual interviews with firefighters as opposed to interviewing tips. (***Note: I put a NO symbol on the third result, though that actually looks like an interview with a firefighter, so we would probably open that. ;))

Once you have three to five tabs open, you can start looking through each one to gather information on your topic. You can jot the notes down in a notebook, or you can open up a Notepad document (just be sure to save it a lot) and jot down your notes in there. It is also helpful to print out articles or interviews if you can, and then use a highlighter to keep track of important information.

The three most important things you can do when doing internet research are:

1) Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all the information. Just take one result at a time and keep going until you have enough helpful information.

2) Be patient. While you should be able to find a lot of helpful information within the first few pages of results, sometimes you may need to look at several pages or try several different search terms.

3) Don’t give up! Research is important to your novel, and you’re really the only one who knows exactly what information you need. It may take hours or even days, but stick with it until you find the information you’re looking for. Sometimes a new search term to try will hit you out-of-the-blue, and that’s the one that brings up all the information you could want.

Good luck and happy researching!