Researching might very well be my very favorite part of writing a book. There is just something amazing about looking back on our history (if you’re writing historical fiction) or looking up whatever fascinates you.
Because let’s face it. If you are writing, you will most likely be writing about what interests you. Why wouldn’t you want to learn more about what you love?
There are several different areas that you should research for any book that you are going to write. Here are two areas now:
No matter what genre you are writing in, you should always begin by researching your time period.
*Note: A genre is the type of book you are writing (eg. Historical, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, comedy, etc.*
You will begin by determining when your book will take place. If you are writing historical, are you writing about the 1800s or the 1900s? If you are writing contemporary, you will need to find current books to read.
When you are writing a book, you need to have a clear idea of what you are writing about. You can’t writing a fantasy if you have never read fantasy before. Nor can you write historical romance when you’ve never read historical before.
When you are researching, you can read a ton of different books!
When reading about the time-period, this one is easy, yet can be tiresome. If you are writing a book that is set in 1815, read a book about 1815 or the 1800s. Immerse yourself in that year or era so much so that the 1800s is now how you think, talk, and act.
You can obviously read however many you want on your time period – but either way, you want to make sure that you are sticking to your outline!! Don’t stray too much, or you may have to change your outline. Which isn’t always bad. Sometimes changing where your story is going is the best thing you can do!
And now it is time to study the people themselves. This may very well be my very favorite part about the researching step because you get to take an in-depth look at the people that you want to emulate.
When you research people, you are looking at the quirks or personalities of those people. You want to look at them to make sure that you are making your characters as accurate as possible.
Reading biographies can be valuable whether you are creating historical fiction or fantasy or any other genre!
When you read a biography there are two ways you want to read it:
#1 – Read for fun — Enjoy yourself and allow yourself to be drawn into the person you are reading about. Don’t make it seem like a boring job or something else to just check off your list. Try to see what you can learn from whoever you are reading about.
#2 – Take notes — Here is where the fun part comes in. Take notes on what you like about the person – what they wear, what they say, how the act, their mannerisms — really anything that you think you may want to include in your book. Of course, unless you are writing a historical about that particular person, when you make up your own character you are going to take snippets from different people that you read about.
For example, if you are studying the Civil War, you could read Lynn Austin’s “Candle in the Darkness” or Lauriane Snelling’s “Daughter of Twin Oaks.” Both of those books are set during the Civil War and could give you a background on what the women of the South felt as the Northern armies were invading.
Are you ready to take a trip down memory lane?