• THE
    Writing Prompt
    Boot Camp

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and get the Writing Prompt Boot Camp download.

The Randomness of the Writer's Search Engine

Categories: MFA Confidential Blog.

In my last post, I weighed the benefits of writing longhand vs. on the computer. And while the internet can be very distracting when you’re trying to lose yourself in the story you’re creating, the fact is, questions come up as stories unfold. Strange, random, obscure questions. And if you’re writing on a computer that has internet access, you can have them answered immediately. But has anyone else ever thought about how incredibly weird your Google searches must be when you’re researching a bit of information for a story? For my post today, I’ve compiled a list of things I have actually had to Google—things I needed to know about in order for a story to move forward. I’d love to hear from you guys—post your weirdest, strangest, most disturbing phrases or questions you’ve typed into a search engine for the sake of a story!

•Mongolian traditional food

•Wooly mammoth

•Congenital heart disease

•35,000 year old German flutes

•National Geographic vacation packages

•What would be a blood alcohol level where you’d be really drunk but still coherent?

•Lyrics to Etta James songs

•Roman name of Greek god Pan

•Does an erection go flaccid when you die?

•How long was Bobby Sands in Long Kesh prison before he died of starvation?

•Can possums swim?

•Average cost of a train ticket in 1922

•Ingredients of beef stroganoff

•Prawns

•Yurts

•Popular gymnasts of the 1988 Olympics

•Judas steers

•What is an archipelago?

•How do you say “I told you so” in French?

•What is the difference between an ocean and a sea?

•Points of interest on highway I- 94

•Aboriginal tools

•List of outdated countries on the world map

•Causes of miscarriage

•Best-known Macbeth quotes

•Why/how does the blue footed booby kill its siblings?

•Popular Mexican girl names

•Household items names in Spanish

•Are Muslims allowed to dissect fetal pigs?

•Direction for dissection of fetal pig

•What is the native language of Eritrea?

And that’s just a sampling. Please, tell me I’m not the only one who’s noticed this! Post your weirdest writing-related internet searches!

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts
  • Print Circulation Form

    Did you love this article? Subscribe Today & Save 58%

7 Responses to The Randomness of the Writer's Search Engine

  1. Sarah says:

    What a fantastic list. I’ve also recently had to look up directions for disecting a fetal pig. How odd.

    Other searches of late:
    -facts about wild turkeys
    -zip codes in Alabama
    -what is the "digital signature scanner" from UPS called?
    -facts about dahlia flowers

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. After reading this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this post together. Once again I find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

  3. Dana says:

    I’m not sure how to check my search history? How do you do it?

    Side note: Do you think you could do a post on this semester’s classes, teachers, books, assignments? I find that information helpful.

    Thanks!

  4. So now I’m wondering what your stories are about… :) I usually ask my husband things or come up with something else for what I was trying to write. Maybe I follow the rule "write what you know" too much. Google often frustrates me because it doesn’t answer my question.

  5. I haven’t looked up anything too bizarre yet. I don’t even think about who might come after me for what I’m looking up. I can easily tell them it was research for my writing. Here are a few of my recent strange Internet searches:

    What do you call a funeral after-party?
    Alzheimer’s
    police procedural
    Native American reservations in Utah and Arizona

  6. Katie says:

    Supposedly google keeps a record of everything searched from one computer. So if I have to search something weird, I use a public computer and pray no one is watching over my shoulder… However, once I did type in–for writing use only!–"treatment of a dead body" but I realized I was probably going to get more than I ever wanted to know and a visit from the FBI if I hit "search…" so I didn’t do it. I also try not to search while writing. I put a big line in my work and highlight it so I can keep writing and go back later. Teal highlighting means look up, purple highlighting means "check accuracy," and yellow highlighting means "this is crap."

    What I also find interesting are the google searches that lead to hits on my blog:
    Dave Burchett (I don’t even know who that is)
    Flying with a kidney stone
    Why are Katie’s hand’s cold?
    peruvian Christmas gifts
    Katey Kourac [sic]
    pageant day prayer

  7. John B. Beck says:

    That is quite an interesting list. I too have searched on a wide variety of topics for the stories and articles that I have written.

Leave a Reply