I'm Bloggin' Today: About Research in Writing
Updated: May 17, 2018
So in the beginning, you know before attending any writers conferences, workshops or talking with, you know, ANYONE, I thought that fiction was fiction. You have creative license to do what. It is, after all, your story right?
What do you mean by it?
It is specific to your story, look at it this way- it is usually what you are researching or need to be researching to make your fiction story sound believable.
Who’s gonna notice?
Two Words- YOUR READER!
Many times a reader picked your book because they felt a connection through a setting, event or subject. You must respect your reader to get the elements of your story as close to fact as possible without altering any of your creative ideas. The last thing you want to do is jar your reader out of a scene because they noticed something wrong in your story.
These connections make supporters and potential fans of your writing. The connection could be a certain type of writing, like historical fiction and the fan just loves the language set in that particular time-period. Imagine if the author didn't take the time to get it right? Maybe readers picked up my book because it was set in Boston- and come on, who doesn’t love Boston (except for maybe New York Yankee fans). Or, maybe they like crime series and if the detectives or agents don’t conduct proper procedure (or at least attempt) readers will pick up on it.
Does it really make a difference?
I’ve heard readers and authors say…I couldn’t take it, the author got it all wrong I had to put the book down.
The last thing you want to do as an author, alienate your readers! Readers will call you on whatever it is. They could potentially give you bad reviews. You get enough bad reviews, your chances of drawing in potential readers will diminish, Book sales will plummet- you see the progression, these are never good consequences. If I didn’t get it right as an author, I didn’t do my job by doing proper research. AND yes, research is part of the job.
So what, now I have to be 100%, like some expert?
No, unless it is essential to your story. Learning some of the basics and even a little beyond should take care of the need. But do what is necessary, take the time to visit a location, interview an expert, conduct fundamental research on the internet. Your readers will appreciate the efforts!
Why Blog about this?
A writer wants his/her writing to be as authentic as possible. I want to be as authentic as possible! And because of this, I can tell you what happened. I have been working on the second book in my series Gumshoe Girl. The setting plays a large part in this story. So, I was pouring over satellite photos and google maps trying to figure out how the setting will play into the circumstances of the story. Due to these awesome New England winters and timing, I wasn’t able to personally visit the location until last week. In doing this, I discovered that I have to scrap a large portion of my manuscript because what I had pieced together in my mind wasn’t correct.
It’s not that I wasn’t doing my due diligence from the start, I went on location to confirm what I had written would work. Glad I did, because it didn’t! Time for a new approach. I thought to lose this much of my manuscript was a setback, but the real setback would have been if I just ignored what I learned and kept what I had written. If I didn’t take the time to get it right.