Monday, January 09, 2012


It’s important to take the time to do research for fiction. Research for fiction? Yes.

With any story, there are details around the plot, characters and setting which may touch reality. For example, I might write a story set in Paris. Regardless of how much fiction exists within the story, if I were to mention something inconsistent with Paris due to a lack of research, I would come out looking rather foolish.

I think this ties into why people use the adage: write what you know. While that can certainly save time – relying upon person experience – there are inevitably areas you don’t know anything about.

Even within fantasy writing, there are aspects of reality we need to research. Subjects I’ve researched for fantasy stories include horses, armies, armor, swords (and weapons in general), languages and medieval history.

I will say that bombarding the reader with researched facts risks boring the reader. But carefully entwining those facts in an interesting way will help the reader feel like an insider with the narrator and feel grounded within factual boundaries. If a writer fakes facts, it cheats the reader. As a reader, I would rather the writer avoid details than give false ones.

Take the time to look things up before you write (or at least before you complete the final draft). Your readers will appreciate the work.

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