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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Research Surprises - Duct Tape, Belly Buttons, and Pruney Fingers

By Sandra Nachlinger

As has been mentioned on this blog before, authors have to do a certain amount of research when writing a book, and the usual source of information these days is the Internet. But the danger (for me at least) is that one website leads to another … and another … and another. Yeah, the World Wide Web contains interesting stuff and some of it is useful, and some of it makes me want to scrub my eyeballs to erase something dreadful I’ve seen! You never know what will pop up.

My most recent foray into online research is for a work-in-progress that’s set in Florida. The heroine is kidnapped, and I figured the bad guys would tie her up and maybe put duct tape over her mouth. But I discovered something surprising in my research online.

Duct Tape

“If You’re Trapped With Duct Tape Over Your Mouth, Here’s How to Get It Off.” As a public service, I’ve embedded a video below. If my heroine had seen this, she’d know how to loosen the tape and yell for help.

Pruney Fingers

And here’s another gem, this time from Smithsonian Magazine. If a character has been soaking in a bubble bath or perhaps floundering in a river, you might want to read this article on Smithsonian’s website. It explains “Why Fingers Get Pruney.” [HERE]
Hint: Wet fingers give a better grip.

Belly Button Inhabitants? Ewwww.

And lastly, if your hero has been contemplating his belly button recently (musing on the meaning of life or maybe just trying to decide between a hot fudge sundae and a banana split) another Smithsonian article might be just the thing you need to read. On the other hand, it might gross you out! "What Lives in Your Belly Button" is HERE. What’s with Smithsonian anyhow? Makes you wonder how your museum membership dollars are spent, doesn’t it? But, you never know. Reading this article might inspire a sci-fi thriller. "Attack of the Killer Archaea?"

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief adventure into the amazing world of the Internet, but now I need to get back to my research and find out more about alligators and fires in the Everglades. I wonder what unexpected factoids will emerge in that search!


  1. Sandy, I agree! While research is necessary for writing and the intent holds lots of answers I do end up going down rabbit holes and wasting writing time when I go to the internet for information. Good post!

  2. Sandy, that was a fun article to read. Thanks for sharing. Your posts are always interesting.


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