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A Writer's Research is Crucial
And Your Book Deals.
Have you ever wondered when the first cellphone, computer, or tablet hit the market? Or when the idea for one of them came to someone? Perhaps when they started working on that idea?
What about when Jif peanut butter hit the market? The first chocolate bar?
What kind of jeans were in style in 1985? 1965? 1945?
Now imagine you’re writing a book just ten years in the past. Someone’s walking down the street in a city. What do they see? What kind of restaurants? Clothing stores? Gas stations? Cars?
Maybe you would remember. I wouldn’t. But I can guarantee someone reading your book will and they’ll let you know what you got wrong. Which is a bit embarrassing but If I got it wrong, I want to know.
Research can take a lot of time, depending on the subject—but it is crucial to good writing.
Even when you write Sci-fi there are certain things you still need to know. Are you using current weaponry, but have no experience with it? Better look that up.
What about if your characters need to jump in a helicopter, but you haven’t been? You need to describe it. Better look that up.
Even if they have futuristic aircraft or weapons, many people base it on what we have now.
The fact is that research is a vital part of writing. Fortunately, we now have Google. But don’t just take anyone’s word for it—make sure they are an real expert, not just someone who claims to be.
I’ve joined a few Facebook groups where writers can ask questions about police or fire procedure and doctors and paramedics about medical problems and procedures.
I also own a few books about psychiatry, weapons, and the craft of writing.
One series that I absolutely recommend is by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The most widely used book, as far as I can tell, is The Emotional Thesaurus. It lists a number of emotions and how people act and feel when they experience them. I feel that it really adds depth to my writing.
I also used The Rural Thesaurus and The Urban Thesaurus from the same series. These explain what you would see, hear, smell, and sometimes taste in a police car, a city street, a farm and more. Every one of their books has been helpful to me in some way.
Yes, research is critical. It can take precious minutes, hours, sometimes even days to find out the information I need. Yet, it is worth that time for readers to have a good experience when reading.
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