What’s up, readers?
Have you ever been in the middle of writing out that one scene and realized your facts just don’t add up? Maybe you’re in the middle of a detailed action sequence and don’t remember the name of that one punch. Is your story something that takes place in an actual place on Earth, or a specific time period? You want to make sure the characters are walking the same streets as your readers, that they actually used the corset the damsel in distress wears during that era! Did someone just get injured? You want to make sure the lung is in the right place and the bandages will actually help them heal. These are all reasons to do research for your books.
If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, I actually wrote about why we do research for books a while ago. It’s called All in the Name of Research! You can read it here>.
In this post, I’m going to explain the 4 steps to research for book writing, then I will give an example of what this process has looked like in my writing.
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- Brainstorming is a very important aspect of each step in the writing process. For research, this is where you think about the scene you want to write. Jot down the questions that you need answered or the tools you know you will need in order to write a believable, realistic scene.
- Whether you are doing this while outlining or revising, you need to have a goal when you go to research. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might end up wasting the next two hours of writing time watching videos about sword fighting on YouTube or reading an article about knitting that has nothing to do with your story.
- So, brainstorm first about what you are looking for while researching!
- Okay, now you know what you’re looking for. It’s time to do some research! With today’s technology, the internet is going to be your best friend. You can find videos on places like YouTube, or do a simple Google search. You can even find help from other people. First-person sources can provide a lot of insight and details about a topic. It depends on what you’re researching. Use sites like Google.scholar or a library catalog to look for more detailed, proven sources. You can also find information on places like blogs or websites, just like this one.
- Whatever it is you’re researching, make sure you fully understand what you need to. Take your time, find multiple sources if you need to in order to find the answers you’re looking for. If it’s a subject that requires you to try something on your own, don’t be afraid to do so!
- If more questions come up as you’re researching, write them down to look at later.
- If the facts don’t add up with the scene you were trying to write, it’s back to brainstorming. This means your research is helping you! If you have to change your scene to make the facts add up, do so. It’s better to have a believable scene than a scene with facts that will make the reader close the book or discredit you, the author.
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- Save your research!
- Whether that means writing down the website, the name of the book, or the video that you used, save it. Hold on to your notes. Bookmark the sites that you use.
- Save your research so you can go back to it later to check your facts or find more information during the entire process of the book writing, editing, and publishing.
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- Now it’s time to write that scene! Use the information you just learned to make that scene amazing! You will sound more educated and believable, with realistic facts incorporated into your fictional story. Readers will love it and want more. Use those facts to write those scenes you want people to fall in love with!
Recently, I have been working on revisions for Recruited, the soon-to-be third book in my T.S.O. series. Here is how I used my 4-step process for research during some rewriting.
- One scene I was going to add involved a couple characters pulling a prank.
- I took notes of the different ideas I had and what types of tools or information the characters would need to succeed with each prank.
- I chose the one I thought would work best with the storyline, and flushed it out, asking myself detailed questions about the supplies necessary, reality of it succeeding in real life, and the science that would be involved.
- After coming up with my questions, I started researching. I used Google to find the information I needed, which led me to informational websites and videos.
- In the end, I realized that my idea was faulty. I didn’t have the right science to back the scene in order to make the prank succeed properly. If I had written it without realising this, the end product would not have been intriguing or believable.
- I went back to the drawing board and came up with a different idea. I did detailed research about the science behind the new idea, different variations of the product I wanted to make, and thought about how to apply it to the story. I found a detailed blog with the information and ingredients I needed and videos with a step-by-step process. I used different sources to verify the facts and learned about the science behind the chemicals that would be involved so I could accurately apply it to my story.
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- I bookmarked the sites I used and saved the YouTube videos I found, and went back to them as I wrote the scene to verify my facts for accuracy.
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- Using the information I learned, I wrote the new scene idea. It came out really well, and was much more enticing and exciting than the first idea I had, while still being scientifically and logically sound.
If I had done no research, the scene I wrote would be very different. I wouldn’t have realized my idea didn’t make sense and would have written a scene that would tell readers I didn’t understand what I was writing. With the research, I made the scene more exciting. After reading it, the story flowed much better and made the character more exciting and sound more educated.
See how beneficial research is for books?
Don’t forget that research can be fun! Things that I’ve researched for books have taught me so much, and made my writing so much better! Some of these topics include tactical defense maneuvers, military-style combat, the effects of sun mutations, travel distances between states, and lately, how to make a colored smoke grenade from household items. Doesn’t sound boring at all!
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Now, go do that research for your own books! Tell me in the comments what really cool, or really boring facts you’ve learned for your books! Sometimes ideas come from the smallest comments! Have fun writing!
2 thoughts on “4 Steps to Research for Book Writing”
Dear R. E. Klinzing: This was great advice for new writers. I enjoy reading your posts and you get better on each one. Great stuff! Love you.
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