If you stop to think for a moment about what you are attempting to achieve as a writer, it’s pretty awesome!
First first of all, you want your readers to believe in the world you are creating! Secondly, you want your audience to enjoy the time they have spent with you, so when you publish more work, you become their favourite author. Big responsibility!
So, how you go about researching your work of fiction is very important, especially if you want to write something credible and authentic. Of course, if you are writing fantasy or science fiction then you are let off this particular hook, but you still have to create a world that feels real and enticing.
Luckily we are living in an age where the internet can be used to find out just about anything you want to know. Whereas before, writers would spend an awful lot of time visiting the local library, now all you need to do is switch on your personal computer! Easy!
Forums such as Wikipedia are excellent when conducting research for a novel. However, be sure to double check what you have found out and because not all the information is correct. Do several searches under different headings to cross reference what you have to make sure it’s accurate. When writing your novel or other fiction it is very important you have your facts straight because inaccuracies are only going to be spotted later on by the editor or even your readers!
When conducting research for your fiction be sure to use magazines, periodicals, newspapers and anything that may give you further knowledge and insight. This also includes TV documentaries, films, You Tube videos.
The Horse Whisperer – Nicholas Evans
When the British author Nicolas Evans penned the best-selling novel The Horse Whisperer, he visited some real-life horse whisperers in Montana, USA where the book is set. And I have to say when I first read The Horse Whisperer some years ago, I felt like I was actually there in Montana. I could feel the snow, I could hear horses neighing! The novel was that real. That is the power of research and its execution by you the writer. The Horse Whisperer went on to sell 15 million copies and was made into a movie by Robert Redford! Thorough research is worth your time! However, don’t become so engrossed in it that you forget to actually write your novel or piece of fiction!
Police procedure, crime novels
If you are writing a crime novel then it is vitally important to get your facts right. Nothing worse than reading a crime novel full of inaccuracies. Here in the UK there are so many ways to verify police procedure and protocols. There are websites, books* and even police officers (usually retired) who will check your crime novel for accuracy. These services are not free but are well worth it.
Personal experiences as research
Finally, and the most unique is the research that comes from your own personal experiences or those of your friends and family. All those family stories you have heard over the years, the conversations you have had with friends and your own personal story counts as inspiration, back story and could count as research for your own work.
Until next time
Happy writing! S
*The Crime Writer’s Casebook – Stephen Wade and Stuart Gibbon