Research for Writing Fiction

Have you done your research for writing fiction?

July 24, 2017 | Writing

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Writing fiction is a lot of fun, you can make up anything your heart desires. Your imagination can go to the most obscure places and conjure new concepts for readers to enjoy. If you want to have nanobot monkeys, you can. If you want a wand that mutates people into the last object they think of, you can. As long as you can create a convincing argument or craft an engaging story, your reader is going to buy into what you are describing.

Of course, the genre you are writing in will dictate what type of elements you end up having in your novel. You might be writing a cross-genre story where there are aliens and steam-powered spaceships. That would be a scifi-steampunk crossover and would require some world building. It would also allow you to come up with some really wild technologies and creatures. So the question is…

Do you need to do your research for writing fiction?

Yes. Simple as that. What was mentioned above requires some imagination and a creative outlook on the world around you. Some may argue that if you research you are limiting your mind’s creative potential. That may be true but think of this: Anyone can come up with a new technology or a monster out of thin air – but will it be believable to your reader?

Benefits of doing your research:

  • You become more knowledgeable on the topic which in return will make it easier to write about. You will be able to describe it in a more engaging manner.
  • Doing research related to your concept will allow you to easily pull in relatable influences. This will make the idea easier for readers to buy into the new concept. Even if you want the idea to be really foreign, if it is way too far out there, readers will reject it. No matter how cool it is.
  • You will discover new things. When you research into a topic, you are going to discover new concepts that you may have never come across before.
  • Research sparks creativity. Further supporting the previous point, new concepts will birth new ideas.

When should you research topics?

Always. If you are creating a new creature you might have some base ideas of what it is: is it reptilian? Is it a mammal? Or is it a non-carbon based creature? These would all raise very different questions for you to research into.

If you are basing your story in a specific location or city, it would be wise to do some research on its history and culture. If you can, travel to that location. As the cliché goes: write based on experiences.

How do I research?

As the paragraph before said, travel can help. More often than not, you will have access to the internet and you can use this to your advantage. Search engines like Google are highly effective to find new research material, just be sure to cross reference any articles you read online. If you found an article online about something, it doesn’t mean that it is true.

You can also go to museums, libraries or city archives to do your research. Take a note pad or use a camera to take photos that you can make reference to in the future.


Summary

As mentioned before, always research and do it often. You will be able to write about the topic better and you will probably learn something new.

Agree or disagree? Share in the comments below!

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