Monday, July 13, 2015

Before You Write – Research!

"Inside Out (2015 film) poster" by
Source. Licensed under
Fair use via Wikipedia
If you are writing a book of fiction or non-fiction and have not invested any time in researching your subject, don't write another word until you develop a plan for researching your topic! 

Research is of vital importance to your regardless of the topic of your novel because it can bring substance and depth to your work. Even more, readers enjoy an informative book 

An article by The Guardian on "How to write a book in 30 days," says that "research often unearths important details and facts that can affect your entire story, so it pays to invest the time early on in the process. It's also very hard to write a story with huge holes in your own knowledge; it's like doing the work backwards." 

Your research could include going to the library or bookstores to view books similar to your topic, interviewing experts on your topic, gathering anecdotes to 
liven up your copy as well as reading everything you can get your hands on about your topic. writes that Pete Docter, writer-director of Walt Disney/Pixar's film, Inside Out, conducted research by consulting psychologists during the filmmaking. The filmmakers of this summer's mega-hit also consulted scientists at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute

On one level, kids can't help but to enjoy the visually stunning movie, but according to, the movie actually teaches viewers about the science of the mind. 

Viewers are allowed to "see" into the mind of 11-year-old Riley, whose family packs up and moves from their home in Minnesota to California.  Operating inside of Riley's mind are the "emotions" of Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness. Viewers watch how the range of these emotions  affect Riley throughout the movie (Don't worry, in case you have not seen the film, there are no spoilers here!).

MANA Author Marion Cornett embarked on the task of writing about the history of the village in which she lives. Since 1996, Mr. Cornett dedicated herself to studying the history of Fowlerville, a village in Livingston County, Michigan. 

Ms. Cornett spent hours poring over maps, photos, newspaper articles, and other resources as part of her research on the history of Fowlerville, from the arrival of its founder, Ralph Fowler, in 1836 to the events of 2010. Ms. Cornett published The Fowlerville Chronicles in 2010, in commemoration of Fowlerville's 175th anniversary. 

Ms. Cornett followed up her well-received book with another work, Through the Eyes of a Country Editor: The Life and Writings of G.L. Adams Editor of the Fowlerville Reivew, 1874-1929.  Ms. Cornett gives her 21st century readers a sense of what news reporting and editing was like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

So, how much time will research take? The amount of time it takes to conduct research will depend on your topic. Research for a children's book, for instance, will be much different than doing extensive research for a murder mystery, which may include gather information on how police actually investigate murders or learning about the criminal court process. 

For the most part, writers don't get too excited about research, they would rather spend the time working on their story outline, plot or character development. However, research will help you with all aspects of writing your novel and make your story much richer for readers and their positive reactions to your book, will be well worth all of your research efforts. 

Through The Eyes Of
A Country Editor

No comments:

Post a Comment