Yesterday I explained why, in my opinion, writing what you know is good advice.
No one expects you to write complete nonfiction works of your life. No one expects you to base all of your fictional work on real life experiences.
You need a good balance between what you know and what you don’t know. I mean, let’s be honest here. If you’re writing fantasy, are you ever going to encounter a dragon? I’d say those chances are slim.
How do I write what I don’t know?
Research, research, research!
I was that kid in school who loved doing projects and essays that you needed to do research for.
Not mention that I’m a 90s kid so I grew up with the evolution of computers and technology. So any excuse to get me to be on the computer was good enough for me.
These days, the Internet is your best friend, though you have to wary of the types of websites you find. Sorry to say that not everything on the Internet is true.
Not even this blog as this is all my opinion. And that’s a fact.
But to be serious, there are many different ways to research.
How do I research?
Like I said, the Internet is a great one. As long as you find credible sources, you have a vast amount of information at your fingertips.
There are also books. The bookstore and the library are your friends. No one goes there as often as they should anymore. Even if you don’t have any research to do, just go in there and sniff a book or two. Better yet, buy a few.
Talk to people. Are you trying to research what it’s like to be a doctor? How to become a doctor? What they’re typical day is like? Talk to any doctors that you know. Ask to interview them. I babysit for a family and the kids’ father is in the Fire Academy. My main character is a detective, but I’ve been getting good insight on what the Police Academy is like. Fire and Police aren’t the same, but they run similar drills and are just as tough to get through.
Another form of research is (wait for it…) real life experiences.
Yes, I just did that.
Wait a minute!
Hold on, I’m still explaining.
I’m not telling you to do research on that hypothetical flat tire you got the other day. No, I’m telling you to research by hands-on experience.
For example, I have to research archery for my novel The Lost Girl. I’ve Googled archery and even looked up writing-related information about it through Pinterest. However, there’s only so much I can read about archery. There’s no feeling behind it.
I can explain how my protagonist holds her bow and pulls back the arrow, but I can’t describe how it feels to actually release the arrow. So, Kris is going to accompany me to an archery class. I’ll tell you all about that when the time comes.
But I’m sure you get my point now. Research is important and so is living. Everything counts and everything helps towards your writing.
Write down all your life experiences, good and bad. Find something that interests you and research it. It’s great material for your stories and you’ll learn something new.
Do you research a lot? What are your methods for researching? Or do you write more true-to-life type stories? Let me know in the comments!