As all y'all probably know, I write a fair amount of historical fantasy. This means research. Lots and lots of research. It can be a hassle at times (for instance, writing a banquet scene set in 1631 Ireland takes forever, because you have to look up utensils, table arrangements, attire, common foods, dining traditions, etc), but in the end it's necessary in order to give your book the proper atmosphere. My current WIP is set in modern-day Cairo. The main character is American (which makes it a lot easier) and research takes less time, since there's considerably more information out there about modern Cairo than 17th century Ireland.
To make a long story short, I really wanted to have a sense of the Arabic alphabet, since the story takes place in Cairo's Islamic district. My main characters speak English for most of the book, but I had them wearing Arabic name tags and I found myself wondering what their names looked like. So I started researching. When I wrote LIKE CLOCKWORK, which is set in a fantasy world reminiscent of India, I resolved to take Hindi lessons in college partly so I would be able to write in the sanskrit alphabet. Turns out, learning alphabets is a lot of fun. It makes me feel all cultured and sophisticated (hahahahahaha) and it's a great way to get a better sense of a culture. There's something about the aesthetics, the way writing appears on a page, that really helps me immerse myself (as much as possible) in the culture I'm exploring.
Research can be fun. Sure, my study of Arabic letters probably won't make a huge impact on my WIP, but now I can make references to Arabic diacritics and sanskrit matras and such. Little details can make a big difference, and if you can find a way to have fun with your research then that funness (totally not a word, but whatever) will show. Readers will be fascinated because you are fascinated.
So just for fun, I wrote out all my critique partners' names in both sanskrit and Arabic. I think Celesta's is prettiest (in Arabic, at least), but they all look cool, and I had a blast figuring out the letters!
Yayyyyy for semi-useless posts. Do you guys enjoy research? Have any tips for making it fun?