You’ve seen pictures of the brain lighting up when ideas enter and make connections to random ideas. Pathways get brighter as the brain connects similar knowledge and experiences until eventually superhighways light up the scan. You can reach the superhighway of understanding your topic quickly by following these tips.
Tip #1 Offline Research: Start with Friends – Be Social
You can’t research a community without talking about your project to as many people as possible. You might as well have fun doing it! Friends will know something interesting, have a resource you need, or know someone you should contact. Those synapses will start to spark. Next be brave and move into unfamiliar territory – schedule appointments.
Afterwards, take a walk with your friends and tell them what you learned, and how much you appreciated their lead. Your conversation will sparkle because everyone wants to know all the gossip you learned – even if it is over 100 years old! 🙂
Tip #2 Offline Continued: The Scanning/ Interview Appointment
Once I got this proof back from Arcadia Publishers, my step-son suggested that I print it up with the first few pictures and captions I had written. It worked great! The proof primed the pump and assured strangers that I was a legitimate author. Interviewees helped proof captions, gave more information about pictures I already had, shared a different perspective, questioned my facts, or confirmed what I knew.
To prepare for the appointment pack your car with what you might need. Include: your camera, scanner, a thumb drive (don’t forget this!), cell phone, and a computer for taking notes. I took lots of notes on the proofs I printed, too. If the person I interviewed didn’t mind, I recorded parts of conversations on my cell phone. Many times interviewees also had written material about their pictures as well: interviews or newspaper articles, which I scanned.
A great purchase to make better use of this information is Wondershare PDF Editor Pro. This software package is about 1/3 of the cost of Adobe Acrobat, and will convert your PDF document like the one above into a searchable document. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until I almost had the book finished, but you don’t have to wait that long if you have read this post! 🙂
Tip #3 Online Research
Some pictures showed people in occupations I didn’t know much about, like tenting orange trees in the early 1900s. I found a U. S. patent by Abe Dinkins and Abe Upp for a scale that is still used today for weighing grapes. Some schools, businesses and service organizations have a history blurb on their website. Google taught me about pesticides and the various methods used throughout history, what and how industries use steel containers, tuberculosis, how to tie grape vines, and many other useful tidbits of information.
California Council for the Humanities transcribed interviews of least 7 Woodlakers about World War II, agriculture, and their lives in general, including an interview of Alice (Hawkins) Mitchell. These documents gave me interesting stories to use with pictures that were hard to describe interestingly because I didn’t know enough. (It might be hard for some to believe, but I didn’t attend school as early as 1923!) Alice Hawkins is on the right hand side, third row up. If I had used this picture, I might have quoted her California Humanities interview in the caption about this picture to preview Alice’s future.
Research is the key to writing good captions as much as socializing, following up on leads, and appreciating your friends’ help is the answer to gathering MANY usable pictures. Follow these tips, and your new synapses will glow brighter than your Christmas lights! 🙂
If you like these tips join me on my writing journey and LIKE my Facebook Page, TC History Gal Productions. 🙂