Random Things I Learned Researching My Most Recent Story

MGM Lion

As my browser history would attest, even if you aren’t writing some big historical piece or science-heavy narrative or any other fictional work that requires extensive research, you end up looking up a fair amount of stuff. So when I was putting together my most recent short story (“A Charlie Brown Christmas”), I wasn’t surprised I ended up learning a thing or two. What is always surprising to me (or at least interesting) is the randomness of the little factoids I pick up. Here are some highlights:


MGM Lion


  1. There were many MGM lions over the years–and they have names! (In retrospect, this is not so surprising. But I never really thought about it before. It was always just “the MGM lion” to me.) There’s been Slats, Jackie, Telly, Coffee, Tanner, George, Leo, and an unidentified lion featured in the 1983 comedy Strange Brew. Crazy, eh?
  2. Snowflakes come in more shapes than I thought.
  3. I learned about the rough timeline of American adoption of Chinese (and other) children.
  4. You can, in fact, buy jumper cables that are not attached to each other.
  5. There are many varied adaptations of the play Parfumerie by Miklós László. I was very familiar with both the film The Shop Around the Corner (which I first saw my freshman year of college) and Nora Ephron’s version, You’ve Got Mail. I vaguely knew the movie In the Good Old Summertime existed, though I’ve never seen it. I did not realize the Broadway musical She Loves Me was yet another version. And I had no idea it was also done as a radio broadcast, three times. Once with the original film stars, Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, once with Van Johnson and Phyllis Thaxter, and once with Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche!
  6. I suddenly and very belatedly realized Mr. Matuschek (from The Shop Around the Corner) and the Great and Powerful Oz (from, you know, The Wizard of Oz) are the same guy.
  7. I learned that if you search for “high school clubs for geeks,” you end up with a bunch of clubs that sound perfectly normal to me but which the internet seems to find hilarious. What this says about me and/or humanity I’ll leave you to ponder.
  8. I now know how one applies for the Cinema & Media Studies Ph.D. program at USC
  9. …and the graduate program in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Caltech.
  10. I discovered that the “Emily” in EMILY’s list is an acronym. I should have guessed by the all caps, but I never really thought about it until I went to check on the proper cap format for the story. I never would have guessed what it stands for: “Early Money Is Like Yeast.”
  11. And I learned that Menornaments are a thing! (Okay, I already knew that, but they are seriously awesome and made by a friend. Check them out!)

Chai 5 Menornament

I had a lot of fun writing this story (and I’m sure after all of the above, you’re wondering what it’s about, but I’ll save that for another time 😉 ). I’m so excited to be included in this brand new anthology with so many other amazing chick lit writers. Be on the lookout, because It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit will be coming very soon to an ebook store near you. Oh, and it’s free! Happy Holidays!



Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-oct-2016


  • I am always on the web searching for odd facts, but learned more from your little snippets! Fun post. Look forward to the book. Keep us posted.

  • Evy Wright

    Thanks for the MENORNAMENTS tag!

  • This post is so much fun! Everything I read was such a surprise with two exceptions: (1) I know about menornaments. Some friends of mine hang them in their windows. (2) I’ve come across the connections between Miklós László’s play and other works in film. Crazy enough, I came across the Miklós László play vs film information while researching stories about bookstores for my second book. How strange that we stumbled upon this content. As the old saying goes, “Great minds think alike!” 🙂 Is your short story set in a bookstore?

    • It’s set in a movie theater, actually. So funny that you came on the same information. I’d love to read the play sometime. Also, that’s so cool you know about Menornaments!! @evywright:disqus check it out! 😀

  • Jayne Denker

    Okay, I’m hooked! I NEEED to know what parts these factoids play in your story! 🙂 It’s so easy to fall down the research hole, isn’t it? There’s so much crazy trivia out there. I can say, from first-hand experience, that the revival of She Loves Me was FANTASTIC. Of course, I’m biased because of Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi (I’m trying to convince my son to dress up as Chuck for Halloween), but the theater geek in me was bowled over by the production.

    • I’m totally with you, Jayne! I’m a theater geek and I loooooove Zachary Levi (and Chuck). Completely jealous you saw that. 🙂 Here’s my mini-blurb for my story: Ming loves Christmas and the movies and today she’s treating herself to a little of both. Too bad the blockhead who broke her heart in high school just showed up.