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How much research?

Post  Maggie on Fri May 25, 2012 9:29 am

Okay. I've got a question for you guys, since it's kind of on my mind. How much research do you generally do before you start writing a novel? I could probably research all day for my WIP before I start, but at the same time, I'm not sure how much is *necessary*.

Do you think more is better? Or do you believe in only researching as much as you need to know to write the story?

Let me know!

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Re: How much research?

Post  Amanda on Fri May 25, 2012 9:04 pm

Well, fantasy doesn't require a ton of research, but more than you'd think—I've ended up researching the weirdest things just because I had gaps of info I needed to fill in. For my historical stuff, I took a whole class on the region(East Asia) so I could truly get into that headspace, and I'll definitely be doing more as I go along, to fill in detail-gaps that weren't covered in the class.

But I'm, you know, kind of making up a lot, too, since it's in made-up places within those time periods and lands, so…I choose low-research projects in general. Razz My two contemporary projects(one's a superhero series, the other is Christian fiction) draw from my experiences(because I've obviously had super powers before XD), so there's not much research done. They're both based in made-up places, much like Smallville or Metropolis.

Overall, though, I do believe in doing much more research than is necessary, even if the project is only vaguely historical(like mine), because you'll probably find something cool you didn't know about before that will enrich the setting and make things more believable. I learned lots of things I can use in the class, stuff I wouldn't have even thought to look up—so quantity is best, imho. Smile
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Re: How much research?

Post  Maggie on Sat May 26, 2012 3:30 pm

Ahh, you and your wisdom, Amanda. XD I agree; more is probably better. Much as that's bad news to me. O_o I actually have a historical thriller/mystery type thing in my to-be-written folder, and I know once it comes time to plot/draft THAT, I'm going to have to spend HORUS researching. (Which is okay. I obviously love the time period since I'm writing in it. But in general, I'm not too fond of research.)

Thank you, dear!

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Re: How much research?

Post  Matthew on Sat May 26, 2012 7:28 pm

I generally don't do too much research before I begin writing - usually just to get an overview on the topic and have enough information to create a plot outline.

I think it comes down to what kind of person you are: some people can research a lot before they start, but I find that if I do that, it kind of lacks direction. I find I can research much more efficiently if I know specifically what I have to research... which I can't really know until I start writing.

So yeah. I don't research a lot *before* I start writing, but rather *during* the writing stage.
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Re: How much research?

Post  StephanieD on Sat May 26, 2012 7:36 pm

It depends what the genre is. Historical stuff definitely needs the most research, since believability is uber important, and you can get away with making some things up but not everything. I have the most experience with sci-fi and fantasy. For those, I don't usually do any research at all until I'm a chapter or two in. I use the beginning of the WIP to experiment with voice and character and worldbuilding, and then I'll pause and figure out essential details of the world I'll need to move forward. The most research comes into play when I find myself stuck somewhere or questioning something I can't just make up an answer to. Razz
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Re: How much research?

Post  Maggie on Mon May 28, 2012 11:37 am

Matthew wrote:I generally don't do too much research before I begin writing - usually just to get an overview on the topic and have enough information to create a plot outline.

I think it comes down to what kind of person you are: some people can research a lot before they start, but I find that if I do that, it kind of lacks direction. I find I can research much more efficiently if I know specifically what I have to research... which I can't really know until I start writing.

So yeah. I don't research a lot *before* I start writing, but rather *during* the writing stage.

*nod* True! You make a great point. Except the problem with that, for me, is that when I have to stop drafting to research, it takes the oomph out of the process. It takes a while for me to actually start writing, and then I don't want to stop... for anything, until I've met my word count. If I do, I lose the flow, if that makes sense.

*shrug* I dunno!

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Re: How much research?

Post  Maggie on Mon May 28, 2012 11:39 am

StephanieD wrote:It depends what the genre is. Historical stuff definitely needs the most research, since believability is uber important, and you can get away with making some things up but not everything. I have the most experience with sci-fi and fantasy. For those, I don't usually do any research at all until I'm a chapter or two in. I use the beginning of the WIP to experiment with voice and character and worldbuilding, and then I'll pause and figure out essential details of the world I'll need to move forward. The most research comes into play when I find myself stuck somewhere or questioning something I can't just make up an answer to. Razz

*nod* I imagine so! I've never tried it up 'till now because I know how much research is needed and I never had a particular time period I loved enough to delve into like that. Until now.

Oooh, yeah! That's pretty much how I've existed up until I started branching out of fantasy/sci-fi. When it's set in my own world, I really only have to research if it's something like what it feels like to be stabbed. (Because yes, I've had to research this.) I feel like the answer to that question's pretty much the same, whether the story's set in this world or not. XD

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Re: How much research?

Post  Stephen on Mon May 28, 2012 7:15 pm

I do a lot of research when I have the time to do so Smile right now I am reading an encyclopedia on fantasy and a biography on Nero(the Roman emperor). I use Greek and Roman mythology and I like using a mix of languages so I have to do a certain amount of research, which I find is really fun because I am extremely curious and love gathering information Very Happy
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Re: How much research?

Post  Taylor15 on Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:44 pm

Well...I don't really do any research for my writing, but I have this one idea that will require a lot of research if I'm going to make any good, so I'm taking my time with that as I have one novel on the go, and then another that's building in the back of my mind.
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Re: How much research?

Post  Maggie on Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:37 pm

Taylor15 wrote:Well...I don't really do any research for my writing, but I have this one idea that will require a lot of research if I'm going to make any good, so I'm taking my time with that as I have one novel on the go, and then another that's building in the back of my mind.

Awesome! You can do it! Very Happy

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