Skip to main content

Friday 8th November 2019 – Research

As an Historical Fiction author, research is paramount.  I could write and write and write on this topic!  It might come as a bit of a surprise, then, that I’m about to throw out the crazy suggestion that research is best performed around the edges of writing a story.  Whatever your story is, make your book about the story first, and then the research.

A few books for research and inspiration

I absolutely love researching things.  I love delving into the realms of history and, if I’m honest, I tend to lose myself there.  Despite that, my books stay 100% focused on the adventures and choices of my characters.  Most things (unless you’re writing in a speculative field) can be researched to fit in with your story.  It doesn’t matter if you're looking at historic events, geographical phenomena, or the impact and effects of drugs, you can usually find a way to make the research fit the story.

Most writers have already done some form of research before they put pen to paper.  After all, you chose your genre for a reason, so you must have had some previous knowledge or idea of that topic.  My course of action is usually:
·         get an idea
·         check the general gist and attitude of the time and place
·         write the story
·         research finer details as I write
This way, I can match my research with my characters, having them brush shoulders with Wellington, or storm Seringapatam, or both!  I am spectacularly proud of the fact readers commend me on the way in which my books are wholly believable whilst being intrinsically fictitious.

Here are a few thoughts on research for books:
  1. It’s your character’s story, not yours.  Research as though you’re your character.  See things through their eyes and not with our 20:20 hindsight and understanding.
  2. It’s all about the story. You should be able to tell your family/friend/neighbour the outline of your plot without ever having to reference how much research you’ve done.  The research should just enhance your story, not dominate it.
  3. You’re not writing a textbook (unless you are, in which case: ignore this point!).  Don’t throw in so much detail that your readers feel they’re about to be made to sit an exam on the subject.  Slotting in samples of research, dotting them throughout a book, allows your reader to be immersed in your research and knowledge without feeling intimidated by it.
  4. There is no such thing as too much research, only poor inclusion of said research.  The more you know, the better the flow!  Extensive research allows your world and characters to feel tangible and sympathetic, both things which are central to effective writing.


Popular posts from this blog

"Through Time to London" by Brindy Wilcox

What started as a normal day for Brandy & Brinkley changed beyond anything they dreamed of when Jed visited. The two spaniels were used to having little adventures every time they left the house, but nothing prepared them for that morning. 
1665 London was a dangerous place for dogs, so when the two brothers found themselves suddenly in the middle of the plague-ridden city it was a race against time to escape the clutches of the street dogs, the perils of the rats and the dangers of the dogcatchers. 
Would they be able to survive in their new surroundings and would they be able to find their way back to the safety of their own home?
Through Time to London is the first in a series that follows the adventures of Brandy and Brinkley, two time-travelling Cavalier Spaniels, who are met with new challenges in their search for the way home.

Firstly, I love dogs! I have a spaniel - a cheeky Sprocker by name of Orlando - so I love reading and hearing about the adventures of other dogs, fiction…

NANOWRIMO - Beginnings

Friday 1st November 2019 - Beginnings
No matter what anyone tells you, your beginning is spectacularly important. No pressure or anything, but if a reader doesn’t gel with your first line, your second must be amazing.The general rule of thumb is, the further a reader is expected to go to find the story, the easier it will be to lose them.
Starting a book can seem a bit like a rocky, uphill struggle - but it's worth it!

One of the most well-known beginnings:
In the beginning was the word
It’s difficult to rival that one!
But it’s a statement of truth (let’s leave fact out of it, as most of use NaNoWriMo writers are in the business of fiction), and that’s what most of my first lines are.
Petrovia Lodge was all that could be expected of a country house for a family of a not inconsiderable income.
Day’s Dying Glory

In a country at peace, men of war are confined to their homes and families.
Beneath Black Clouds and White

The springy heather underfoot was the only thing which coaxed on the falte…

Book Tour - Total Blueprint for World Domination by Jolene Stockman

It's great to part of this book's journey!

When my parents bought me my sewing machine many years ago, the gift tag read "believe in your ability and this will become your best friend" or something to that ilk. This book reminded me a little of that - it gives you the matter-of-fact motivational speech needed by some many youngsters.

"Total Blueprint for World Domination" is an inspirational book for young people. Young people need to think big, and believe in themselves, and this book certainly helps with that!

There are motivational speeches and activities gallore. Some of the activities have been seen before, but others are new to me. Occasionally, books heap activities onto the reader like nobody's business, but this book gets it just right. Not too many, and not too few. The reader is left feeling like they can take part without worrying about the time!

And did I mention the graphics? The design of the book is eye catching and, in itself, inspirat…