Book writing – how far does author research need to go?

It is self-evident that the more an author puts into a story, the more a reader will get out of it. Solid research will underpin the credibility of what lies between the covers of a book but and help build the trust of readers.

Research leads to writer-confidence in relating key information or capturing the atmosphere of a setting. More than that, it informs the reader by adding to his/her knowledge bank (no matter how subliminal). To do it properly, however, requires a balanced approach and an eye for what is important as opposed to what can be little more than window dressing.

I was once told that just because you know the detail of something doesn’t mean you have to bore the pants of everyone by telling them how clever you are. It’s all very well, for example, that you may know the precise calibrations and mathematic formulae for manufacturing a car engine but do your readers really want to spend time reading about it in a romantic novel, or, for that matter, any other kind of novel? SEE MORE AT:

Views: 247

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

As important as research is, I do think that eventually, people will ALWAYS find something "wrong" that it's really impossible to research it all. Not to mention I've seen many official books/shows get many things wrong. For all the time published authors supposedly spend with career pros, I also see comments that their stories are unrealistic as far as procedure goes. Research is important, but I also don't think that every little detail need be too smothering. Maybe I sidestep this frequently by always using fictional settings relatively close to home. I dunno. I think it's just important to research without getting too consumed with it.

Readers frequently get it wrong, too, when they think they've found a mistake.

I have had a number of readers email me to say the characters in my books pay either too much or too little for marijuana ;).


Classic! Research has its limits, evidently.

Readers may get it wrong too, although sometimes they DO get it right. Like, sometimes when watching a show/reading a book/etc., I notice mistakes in things that I do have knowledge of. (ie Church protocal or something) 

So basically, it seems even a lot of the pros don't do research as thoroughly as you might think. That doesn't mean it's not good to research. I just think that research needs to be done as needed.

I agree with Tom.  My overall point was that I don't have to go to Mars to write about it.  I must know how people think and respond.   By the way, on Police Procedures, the HOWDUNIT series has a good one.  CHECK HERE! 

That's Lee Lofland's book.  Bound to be excellent.  He's ex-police and a super nice guy.  He always answers authors' questions.  (Used to come here quite a bit).


CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2024   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service