Monday, August 24, 2015

Novel Research - How Much is Too Much?

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Welcome to another week of fun. Yeah, it's Monday, but you now have five whole days to get in your writing groove. Today, I'm talking about research. You know, that stuff that makes your book seem plausible to your reader. Ready? Grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

As you all are probably aware, when I was writing M, I had to do a lot of research for a few topics and scenes included in the novel. Here are a few:

Buying explosives online (yes, you can!).
What the range on a GPS tracker is.
Best sniper rifle.
What genes are responsible for reproduction.
What genes/chromosome strands are associated with malformations of the heart.
How to pick a lock (actually picked a lock to learn what this was like).
Self-contained cities (how they work).
Moving sidewalks and how one steps onto them.
What genes are responsible for "giantism."

And those are just a few. I've asked other sci-fi writers, and they have pretty much the same experience. You have to learn as much as possible so your story can ring true. Sure, you can ask an expert or read an article about how to pick a lock, but until you do it, you don't know what pitfalls may happen or how it feels.

I've talked about this before on my post Writing What You Don't Know, but sometimes you need to get into the meat of your story by heading out and experiencing things for yourself.

Don't leave your words to someone else. The way I describe something might not be the way you describe that same thing.

As a bonus, the next time you want to write about what it feels like to walk over hot coals, you'll already know. Those little tidbits will be stored in your memory bank or feelings workbook.

It's not just sci-fi that demands research. If you're planning a book where you deal with legal issues or historical facts, you have to look that up, too. Writers are born researchers, and we usually have a thirst for first-hand knowledge of topics.

What's been the most fun/interesting thing you've ever had to research for a book? What book was it?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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