Friday, October 28, 2011

How I Write-- Research

While last week we talked about how we develop our characters, this week the question asked was how we do our research.

I don’t know if you know, but I write weird stuff. I don’t write normal, humans living ordinary lives. My book is all about spies and assassins and psychic powers. And through the vein of it all, I love science and adding a scientific spin on the paranormal.

My research involves science textbooks and Googling about psychic abilities and various uses of equipment. But mostly, I make it up. That’s the thing when you write paranormal, you can use your imagination to create things. Like copying memories from one person and transferring them into another.

What I write, there isn’t tons of research out there for (sometimes, none). I have been known to look up fighting techniques, however, and watch youtube videos of it, studying the way the fighter moves. I don’t tend to mention real places either. Why? Because I fear those details that need to go into the story to make it real for readers. If it’s a real place, especially one I’ve never gone to, which less face it, is everywhere, then I know I’ll mess something up. So what did I do? My characters live on the mountains. Granted, in book2 they do go to town, but it’s not a real place. I can make up whatever I want and no one can say ‘hey, you wrote that wrong’.

I’m always in awe at those who write historicals. I think that it’s the hardest genre to write just because there’s so much you need to know. All those accuracies, you need to keep in the back of your mind or else you know someone is going to find it and point it out.

All in all, there are layers to researching. I Google (my main source to the wacky information you can’t ask someone out loud), but I also watch movies (fight scenes) and read other books. In the end, it all helps those puzzle pieces fall in place.

Check out how my other friends do research: Danie Ford Emma G. Delaney Kimberly Farris Kristen Koster


  1. I think I'd be more worried about making something up and have someone say, "Uh, no way THAT would work" or worse forgetting what I'd already set up and changing it midway through!

    You've got a great point about the layers of research and I think that's how I survive writing historicals. I have basic knowledge gleaned from reading them for over 25 years (gah, that's depressing to write!) and then everything else is often minute details.

    I'd think it is similar to how most people know what certain medical or scientific terms are, but might not be familiar with some of the more obscure or bother to learn the proper names of all the bones in their body. LOL

    Great post though!

  2. I agree with Kaige. (As always--she's one smart lady!)

    Just because it's a fictional place doesn't mean you can skimp on attention to detail. It still has to be logical and consistent so you don't pull the reader out of the world you've gone to all that trouble to create!

    Great post!