Behind The Scenes – Researching Like a Pro


Writing a novel is not as simple as just writing. So much goes into writing a novel that many people are unaware of. One such thing is research. Oh, the amount of research that goes into a novel is insane.

“The heart and soul of good writing is research; you should write not what you know, but what you can find out about.”

– Robert J Sawyer

Writing is a process, and it requires many, many hours of not only writing, but also research. You can’t just assume things will work out in your novel, you need to be sure of it. If things are too unrealistic, then the novel won’t read well.

Everything is set on a plain of some reality – sure, magic might exist, or elves might roam the land, but there should always be a set of rules in a novel. Research is crucial to creating these rules and producing a believable novel.

Not only will you be able to produce a more believable novel through research, but you will be able to avoid clichés and create environments you wouldn’t be able to without research. Pictures, essays and other books can all help mould your novel and create something unique and amazing.

“Do research. Feed your talent. Research not only wins the war on cliche, it’s the key to victory over fear and it’s cousin, depression.”

– Robert McKee

I tend to always over research my novels. I enjoy reading other books in the same genre and researching probabilities and how things look (if it’s a real place) or might look (if it’s a fictional place or set in the future).

I will spend hours upon hours reading and visiting libraries in order to fully obtain a sense of how my setting will look and how my characters would interact.

I like being able to draw a basis from other novels and research science and medicine books in order to get my facts right and not mess things up. There’s no point in severing someone’s leg off if you don’t know how to do it or the process for patching it up after.

If you create a scenario and don’t know how to go about resolving it – research. Odds are other people have created similar scenarios or even know what to do if that situation occurred. I find it so important to research and read and make sure that my worlds are believable and enjoyable to readers.

Of course, don’t fall into the trap of researching and not writing. You need to investigate things and draw inspiration from life around you, but you can’t spend all your time just doing that. You need to be able to set time aside and write out your ideas and research endeavours.

I’m going to keep on researching current situations in my novel and ensuring that the scenes are the best I can possibly make them. I’ll research to know my content and read how others create similar scenarios.

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”

– Samuel Johnson

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