Maybe it’s the genre I write in, but I tend to do a lot of research for my books. With POEL, I’ve scoured the internet, the library, and even sent away for information packets about all sorts of information. The list seems to keep growing: nanotechnology, lunar colonization, Sanskrit, Biosphere 2, confined environment psychology, cryonics…and who knows what’s next.
I’ve found that while I don’t put a lot of the information I learn directly into my story, I still have to have it all in order to form a believable world. My readers may not have to know all the details about how a biosphere works, or the real-life process of being cryogenically frozen, but if I want to make them believe it’s real on my world, I have to know all that. The more I know, the more I’m able to unconsciously communicate the real ideas and knowledge behind my story.
Of course, I might not be an expert on the things I learn, but I make sure I’m at least well-versed. After all, it’s the wonders of science that attracted me to the sci fi genre in the first place, so learning the things I’m portraying in my story is often the first step to creating it. And, being the nerd I am, I love every minute of it.