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Research for your novel

Sometimes research can be the best part about writing a book. Then again, sometimes, it can be boring and overwhelming. For me, though, research time is my most creative and inspirational time in my writing process. It's like a light comes on, and I'm off writing in no time!

For instance, in my manuscript I submitted for the GUTGAA Small Press contest, a comment was made by one of the very beautiful, lovely, wise, and perfect judge (hehe. Maybe I'm partial because she voted for me. Maybe.) The comment involved the naming of my MC, Mercedes Albright. Was her name actually a historical name? And while I do agree it sounds modern, it did not become popular until modern times, it is not a modern name.

I researched the name and found the Queen consort of Spain name was Mercedes. She was born in 1860.

But in researching the name, it led me some interesting information, which I was more than happy to include in my story.

The creativity light flickered bright during my research, which led to a nice ,long inspirational streak in my writing.

What about you? Have found anything amazing while doing research?


  1. I LOVE the researching and planning part of writing. You stumble across the strangest, most interesting things that you probably wouldn't have known about otherwise. I was looking into a country The Boy and I are planning to head off to when I came across something that COMPLETELY supports my WIP setting. It means some rewriting potentially, but I know my story will be so much more because of it.

  2. I saw that question last week and your response (k, I admit, I was stalking a few posts besides my own). To be honest, I didn't know the answer.

    I've found I'm doing more researching than I used to. Although, I do have a story based in this world with its foundations in ancient Egypt, so that'll account for a lot. Even then ... there's not much straight researching going on, more validating and clarifying what I've known for years (yes, I'm love with ancient Egypt).

    The weirdest thing I've researched: how long you can live after a sword's been in your gut. I was right surprised there. Apprently you CAN live long enough for the girl to save your butt. That is just plain awesome!

  3. Research can be fascinating and I have included parts in my stories. Names in particular I like to research it's amazing what you can come up with!

  4. I research all the time as I'm an information junkie. For a book, in between books or just because I'm curious. The junk I have stored in my head is amazing...and very useful in quiz competitions.

  5. My family knows better than to ask me questions during dinner, because I tend to jump up and run to the computer to google the answer up. I love research. I have spent HOURS flipping back and forth between Google Earth, the internet, and my WIP. :D

  6. I LOVE researching things. I sometimes get too carried away though. I end up using all my writing time for my research. LOL! Funny story I was once researching how to kill someone and BY ACCIDENTALLY left it up on my computer and my roommate walked in......LOL!

    Also Ink I'm having a great giveaway and I was wondering if you could enter/blog post about ti or Tweet. The info is here-> THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  7. Over the summer I started doing research for a historical fiction piece I plan to write soon. I was amazed at how many story ideas came from a little bit of research.

  8. Research, in my opinion, is integral to the success of even the simplest story, especially if the writer is unfamiliar with any aspect of it, whether it be popular or common names of the era, location details, types of name it!

    I'm a research junkie, and like others in the above posts, can lose a lot of writing time wrapped up in the thralls of discovery. But like you, it spurs some of the juiciest ideas, taking my writing in directions that it otherwise might not have gone. And I never consider it a waste of time. Once I've done adequate research, the writing is a just flows, without having to stop to fact-check.

    Some may think that they can just throw some random name or other detail out there without it meaning much. EVERY word means something. Take the time to research and you'll be surprised how much it brings your story to life.

  9. My WIP required me to dig into the history and era of the Civil War. I learned that the battle in Gettysburg left 14 miles strewn with dead and that packages to soldiers that contained salt and stockings were highly valuable.

    I learned about "soddies" -- the sod homes made from earthen bricks and about Ft. Kearny in Nebraska along the Oregon Trail and the danger of Indian attacks.

    Yes, it was all incredibly interesting and helped me add realistic details to my WIP and helped me embed the story in actual events, dates and names.

  10. I loooooove research... Sometimes I spend too much time researching... ;)

  11. This is a great post! I'm currently going through exactly that. I need to find an appropriate name for another project I want to start and so far I haven't found that right name yet.

  12. I like to take more hands-on approach to my writing. If the character likes to run, my research involves a lot of running (for a bit I become the character, try to take things in the way he/she would).

    Also, I saw your novella got a request! Congrats!

  13. What a great post! I used to love to research while I wrote, but I found it slowed down my writing, so now I research everything I can up front, but I still find myself adjusting and researching as I progress through the first draft. I love reading about other people's writing methods! :)

  14. My writing is mostly far future, not present-day or historical, so I don't need a lot of research in the way some people do. But in researching specific points I did learn that: (a) It is theoretically possible to survive a fall from space in an inflatable bubble, and (b) If you removed its ice cap, most of the middle of Greenland would lie below sea level.

  15. Yes, absolutely! While researching the Salem Witchcraft Trials I found the perfect character for my story's purposes, complete with actual letters she'd written from jail. She was like a gift!

  16. Me again! I can't see your query, or comment on it. I'm not sure why I have such trouble with your blog. I did like your second title better. I can't give you any advice obviously, but good luck!

  17. I love doing historical research, and doing linguistic research for my books set in other countries or featuring immigrants. Some of the research I did for my Russian novel sequel last year led me towards discovering the colored Remington Portable typewriters, and now I'd love to find one in purple!


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