6 Research Tips


Let’s start the month with tips to help you Write Better and Write Faster.

Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, these research tips will lend authenticity to your writing.

1. Take a class.

Whether you have a sleuth who is a knitter or a hero who is a winemaker, what better way to learn all about the subject than to take a class. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the time to do this. However, if you’re writing something because you already have a deep and abiding interest in it, this is the way to go, especially if the writing is the first book in a series.

2. Subscribe to periodicals.

There are print and online magazines that cover any subject you can imagine. If you’re writing about collecting thimbles or grooming dogs, peruse a couple of magazines about the subject because they’ll show you what is of interest to people who do these things as well as the kind of advertisements targeted to these people.

3. Look it up. You can research online and/or in printed books. Make sure you have a depth of subject matter and that the facts can be cross-referenced and verified. Printed books are usually fact-checked whereas material on the Internet is not. You might want to get a Firefox addon called Google Scholar to help you research faster.

4. Talk to the reference librarian. By all means, visit your local library and talk to the reference librarian who can point you toward applicable research materials.

5. Ask an expert. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience offered by an expert in the field. Book an interview with the police department liaison or with a cosmetic surgeon if that’s related to your writing. There are experts everywhere and most of them light up when you say you’re writing about their field.

6. Observe for yourself. Want to know what it’s like to work on an assembly line? Visit a manufacturer for a tour. Want to know how long it takes to drive from city hall to a museum? Make the trip and log the info yourself.

Takeaway Truth

Authenticity in writing is the hallmark of the professional.

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