Becoming an Author: Research

All work that is ever put out in the public domain needs some background research. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway,

If you don’t know your subject matter very well, then you’ll need to do a lot of research. If you do know your subject matter, but want to weave an intricate story on top of topics you don’t understand, then you’ll need to do more research.

That said, if you want to craft an inspirational story based on something you have experienced yourself, or someone you love or admire then you might be able to show the core of your tale in a way that inspires others the way it did you.

Nearly all books will need you, the writer, to do a little research on the subject.

It is better to get the details in your book correct, rather than irritate your intelligent reader. Always have at the back of your mind that some of your readers will have knowledge on the subject you are writing about.

If you are writing on the subject that’s based in a well-known part of human history or about a particular profession, or using a person who is famous, then researching the subject is going to be of utmost importance. One thing is for certain, readers won’t hesitate to tell either you directly (which is a kind way of advising you) or, others (not so kind) that you don’t know what you are talking about.  From that point of view, it is important to get your research right. The more facts you intend to put in, the more research you need to do.

You have a moral obligation to get those facts right.

For instance, if you are interested in conspiracy theories and you don’t know if the information is correct, or even real, don’t say it is. By all means, put the information in, but mention that you got the information from another source, perhaps someone you are unsure of, in the manner of wanting to explore all possible sides of the argument – even untrue ones.

Say you want to write a factual story based on something real that you’ve heard about or read about, or a person that fascinates you, for instance, a biography. The details will need to be correct. If they’re not the reader won’t believe anything else you have to say.

Of course if you are writing fiction based on true events, it goes without saying that all those facts you’ve collected can be distorted.

With fiction, if you set your reader up at the start they will understand they are entering a story-world and know it isn’t true. Even if it is based on events that actually happened, you will need to tell your reader from the outset that this is, say, a detective novel based on real events.

However, if you are writing a fictional story based on characters that work in a science lab, or a particular location that people will be familiar with, you’ll need to let your reader know they are entering a fictional world and that all the details have sprung from your own thoughts, ideas, and dreams, i.e. your imagination.

This is where you need to make a decision about balancing your story. 

How many facts do you need to include (not too many that they bore the reader), against how much do you want to invent with your artistic license?

As a writer, remember that, first and foremost, you are a creative person. Only when the story is complete do you put on your business hat.

All the best,

Kaye Bewley


Kaye Bewley
Kaye Bewley
KAYE Bewley assists people get the best out of their life. After 30+ years in the media, marketing and military fields, she turned to psychology and spirituality. In combining the knowledge, skills and experience gathered from these areas she assists people get their own book in them, out. She also contributes to various local, national and international print and online magazines on a range of topics that include psychology, spirituality to gender in the workplace.

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