This is what research for a novel looks like.
My new protagonist, Wren Morrow, is a wildlife photographer whose photos will be included in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. (No, the folks at the Smithsonian know nothing of this.)
So I went to take a look at how the current Wildnerness Forever exhibit is displayed. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wildnerness Act, the exhibit features juried photos of America's wild places and wildlife taken by pros, amateurs, and students -- all so amazing that you would never be able to tell the professional shots from those captured by teenagers.
I also have a major scene set in the area just outside the second floor restrooms at the museum, down the winding hallway from the photo exhibit.
After that fateful encounter (you'll remember this detail when you read the book, right?), Wren takes a moment in the women's restroom to pull herself together. Pale green is so soothing. (Look at how clean this place is! Not a germ in sight! I do love the Smithsonian.)
I had to notice what she would see in the hallway on her way to and from the restroom:
And what she would see out the window on Constitution Avenue:
Also what she would see if she looked beyond the stuffed elephant in the rotunda:
I made written notes on things I already knew but wanted to be doubly sure of -- the floor coverings in heavily trafficked areas, for example.
Exciting, huh? But wait till you read the scene. I promise it will be exciting.