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January, 2008

The Shy Writer

Part II: Researching Nonfiction
A bit from here and there
By  Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

Synchroncity, rules and references are part and parcel of a nonfiction writer's life.
While passion, paying attention, and using your intuition will serve you well in creating your nonfiction, there are other elements that are useful and handy if you are aware of them. 


As we focus our thoughts – which we do in research – we create an energy mechanism that sifts and sorts information behind our conscious reality. The need to know often brings us a surprisingly specific response. For example, as I was thinking about this article on research, my old friend Gary McAvoy called. A natural guru of search, Gary has made a business of search engine marketing and website optimization (

In catching up since we last talked, Gary mentioned that he had just seen author Paul Hawken during Hawken’s tour for his new book, Blessed Unrest. Gary’s comments about how Hawken came to write the book seemed to fit in perfectly with this theme of research. What I found so interesting is that Blessed Unrest grew out of Hawken’s noticing the sheer number of business cards from non-profit organizations he had collected after fifteen years on the speaking circuit.

In his introduction, Hawken says,“"Did anyone truly appreciate how many groups and organizations were engaged in progressive causes? . . . So curious, I began to count . . . The more I probed, the more I unearthed . . . as I discovered lists, indexes, and small databases . . . I now believe there are over one – and maybe even two – million organizations working toward sustainability and social justice." His research reveals a larger, unrecognized perspective, giving readers a sense of connection, wonder, and hope.

Other Authors

Research for nonfiction, especially a subject such as spiritual development or personal growth, often requires reading the ideas of those who have published before. When I was researching the two experiential guides for The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight (novels by James Redfield), I had many topics to research – for example, reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, remote viewing, quantum physics and the unified field, ecological principles, shamanic practices and energetic healing, and transpersonal psychology to name a few.

A synchronistic breakthrough in my research occurred one day while I was eating lunch and opening my just-arrived subscription copy of the magazine from the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). This issue featured an article entitled, The Rise Of Integral Culture, by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson. The piece described a large segment in Western society that has recently developed beyond the standard paradigm of modernists versus traditionalists. The authors called a new segment of adult American society (50 million strong) cultural creatives or New Progressives.

They later published a book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing The World (Harmony Books, NY), which amplified their research findings on this growing group who are interested in non-mainstream methods, environmentalism, and social justice. In a very real sense, these two authors had done the meta-research on the population, who were most likely to resonate with the spiritual and energetic insights in The Celestine Prophecy.

For me, discovering the cultural creatives gave a face to the audience for the Celestine guide books. Following this important piece of the puzzle, it was a matter of almost effortless networking – using my intuition to ask others with whom I came in contact who they knew in a certain field – in order to meet people who could bring the nine Celestine Insights to real life.

The Rule of Fair Use

As I read through the myriad of authors on the subjects I was investigating, I did, of course, come across great descriptions, explanations, and quotes that I wanted to use in my books. It was during this period of research, that I had to come to grips with the principle of copyright and fair use. While there are guidelines, there seems to be no definitive rule about when one must get permission to use copyrighted material – except for poetry or music lyrics, both of which require permission and sometimes a fee. I found the most safety in using no more than a few sentences or short paragraphs from prose books, and crediting the source with good bibliographic endnotes.


Until the last few years, I used to call my local library and ask for the reference desk. To the wonderful reference librarian I would entrust my question, and wait patiently on the phone while he or she dug into the files for me. Now, of course, I turn to Google. I searched the Internet twenty-two times in order to research this article. And yes, I used Wikipedia. Three times.

There are many sources and techniques to aid research for the development of nonfiction. Follow your passion, figure out what it is you need know, and focus on the discovery. These first steps will lead you to the right resources along the way.

Read Part I: Researching Nonfiction.
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Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an internationally-known author and intuitive counsellor whose books on numerology, purpose, and change have been translated into over fifteen languages. She co-authored the Celestine Prophecy Experiential Guidebooks, and Oprah hailed her best-selling book, The Purpose Of Your Life, a must-read. Her website is
[Author's photo by Gary McAvoy]

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IN This Issue
Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Part II: Researching Nonfiction
Part I: Researching Nonfiction
Rediscover Your Passion
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The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

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Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

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The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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