Say you’re brewing up a historical romance, and you address everyone by their first name.
Bah! You’ve lost your readers!
Say you’re penning down the top ten largest technological companies, and you miss out on Apple.
Fiddlesticks! You’ve lost your career!
Irrespective of whether you ink a fictional or non-fictional work, research is the name of the game.
Otherwise, you’d end up addressing the Earl of Kentucky, Lord James Amberly, as a simpleton James, and miss out on the fact that Apple surpasses all other technology companies with a market capitalization of USD 1.3 trillion.
So, if you’re wondering how to write a book, let’s tell you, the first step to giving embodiment to your thoughts is research, extensive research. Without further ado, let’s give you some powerful reasons to embrace research before penning your book.
Here’s Why You Should Go Hand in Glove with Research
1] You Should Convince Your Readers
Living in the twenty-first century, let’s say, you embark on an endeavor to write a historical fiction set in the Victorian era. While you might have a vague idea of the culture and traditions, failing to outline the minute details would curb your reader’s interest.
Even if your work is fictional, your readers must believe the picture you’re painting in their imagination, with your colorfully articulated words.
And where do those words get their inception? From a deep well of research.
2] You Should Present the Facts Right
While the goal of every writing project is to keep your readers entranced, you can only do so by getting your facts right, and of course, language and plot included.
So let’s say that in your historical fiction you’re going to go by actual places and happenings. In such a case, you need to map your characters in their right coordinates in the right timeline.
You certainly can’t afford to mess up with things like the monarch ruling the land at the time in which your characters take the stage. Also, other things like the dialect, popular traditions, mode of transport, choice of food, landscape, and many more can’t be taken lightly.
The more you value of these facts, the better your writing project would turn out to be.
3] You Should Get Better Understanding
Imagine that you’re authoring a science fiction novel. In such a case, you need to get your scientific concepts right before actually using them in your thrilling plot.
Let’s say that you want your character’s to time-travel. To do so, you should frame the means of their time-travel. You certainly can’t say that your characters time-travel by an amulet.
Though it’d be easy to write it down that way, your readers wouldn’t enjoy it. Also, this will contradict your science fiction to be a work of fantasy.
So, you need to do that bit of research to understand time-travel theories such as Einstein-Rosen bridges, traversable wormholes, and special and generic relativity. It’s this research that’ll help you strike the chord of balance between actual sciences and your work of art.
Now that you know why research is vital before writing let’s help you with the actual process by revealing the elements that you need to research.
Here’s What You Should Research About Before Writing Your Book
1] Research Your Genre
Before putting your pen to the paper, you should know your genre like the back of your hand. As a case in point, let’s say you’re creating a paranormal fiction.
Then, you need to research the elements that put together a great paranormal story. Remember, working on a genre such as this; you’re literally convincing your readers to forego all rational thinking to believe in the impossible.
What’s more, the paranormal element shouldn’t seem forced. It shouldn’t portray you as yet another writer trying to follow the winds of change. Rather, the paranormal setting must seem normal in your plot.
For instance, if you set your tale in the Scottish Highlands, a little bit of research would tell you the tale of a handless ghost who is believed to haunt the Rait Castle, near Nairn.
2] Research Your Timeline
Time does not factor in historical fiction alone. Irrespective of the genre in which you stage your plot, you need to research important happenings around the timeline of your novel.
So you should detail if your setting belongs to the past or the recent past, present or the present continuous; immediate future or the future. Then, you need to determine the duration of your story – would it span around days, months, years, or decades.
Additionally, you need to support your creativity with the important happenings of the particular timeline. For instance, let’s assume that you live in the year 2090. You decide to cook up a romance flavor back in the 2020s.
Your work wouldn’t be spellbinding if you’d leave out the coronavirus from your plot.
3] Research Your Character
Do you remember Nicholas Sparks‘ A Walk to Remember?
Ah, who wouldn’t?
The tale of that glorious love would forever be etched in your hearts. But how did you fall in love with Landon and Jamie?
Sure, under Sparks’ pen, the two of them were meant for each other. But what drew you to the couple? What caused you to shed those silver pearls of tears in the last pages of the book?
Let’s give that to Sparks’ meticulous character research!
Surprised, eh? But that’s the truth.
So, if you want your readers to connect with your characters on an emotional level and feel one with them along with the storyboard, then character research is vital.
While it’s natural to incarnate your characters by your personal interactions with people, you’d do well with a character map.
Penning down your character’s characteristics, ancestry, habits, likes, dislikes, fears, roadblocks, dialects, and so on, would help you stick to one personality for your character unless otherwise, you wish to have a two-faced character like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Research Your Way Before Writing!
Now that you know the importance of research before writing and the various elements that need research, it’s time to organize and fly.
But let’s say, organizing your research isn’t an easy feat. Since several elements hold your story together, it’s natural for you to feel overwhelmed while organizing your research, lest you lose track of what information you’ve gathered.
So, try using a novel writing software. That’ll keep your characters, setting, and plot from falling apart.