WRITING TIPS: FEBRUARY 2018

RESEARCH FOR YOUR STORY

Research – love it or hate it, sometimes it’s necessary in a story/novel that you’re writing. Some stories need more research than others. Research may be necessary to give your story more credibility, to make it more realistic. These little details that  you’ve researched may make the world you’ve built for your story believable enough for your reader to get lost in. You may not be an expert with firearms, or you may not know why a car might break down, or you may not know how the stock market works – but these may come up in one of your stories, and that’s where research will come in to make your story more believable and realistic.

If you come across a detail in your story that you’re not an expert in, you’ve got two choices of what you can do: You can do some research on those details/subjects, or you can make it up. If you decide to wing it, I can almost guarantee that eventually and “expert” will leave a nasty review where he or she calls you out on these “facts” that you’ve made up.

Research is easier than ever now that the internet is at your fingertips, just be sure that the research you’re reading isn’t something someone else has made up. Besides the internet, there are books and magazine articles written on the details you’re looking for. You could even visit locations in person and interview experts.

How much research should you do? This can be tricky. You can bog yourself down in research, which may show up in your writing. Doing too much research can be an easy trap to fall into, and it can take away from your daily or weekly writing goals.

A few other tips about research: Be careful that you’re not copying the research word-for-word in large amounts into your story; this could be blatantly obvious to your readers, or it could possibly infringe on copyright laws. You also don’t want to add every scrap of research you’ve labored over for the last few months into your story. All of those added details, while fascinating to you, may bog your story down (and I’m mainly talking about fiction here – obviously non-fiction would rely more heavily on research). Remember, research for your story/novel can be like seasonings or spices for a meal – you want to add just enough to give it flavor, not dump the whole container into the pot.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps someone out there. Please feel free to comment below if you want to.

Until next time . . .

 

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