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Author Topic: The Value of Research in Creative Writing  (Read 5129 times)

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superpsycho

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Except for some unique instances, most people think creative writing doesn’t require a lot of research. If you want you’re stories to come alive, do some research. If you’re doing a science fiction story that has a primitive race, then research a primitive race, as well as any technology you’ll use in the story. More often than not, it will give you ideas for the story itself, as well as give the story greater level of authenticity and flavor.

When you go to get an agent or publisher, if you can show a foundation for aspects of the story by showing them the research, you’ll increase your chances of getting their attention. The more flavor and texture you can put in your work, the more likely you’ll make the work interesting to readers. You’ll often learn things you’d never think to include in the story otherwise. Remember there is a lot of competition out there. You want every edge you can get. True, digging out facts that relate to what you’re writing about, does take time, but it usually pay dividends far beyond just the story. Often one of those dividends is the loyalty of readers who are familiar with some detail or another and appreciate accuracy when it's about something they know.   

This section is for research. Asking misc questions that other members might know about on a  location, profession or job. It's also a place you can list sites you found that contain potentially useful material on professions, location, technology, etc that would be useful in developing a story backgrounds.

Here are some more thoughts on the value of research.

Knowing you subject      Painting a vivid Picture
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Sargesatt

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The Deposed King

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Re: The Value of Research in Creative Writing
« Reply #2 on: 04/19-20:03 »

Google is a great tool.  But my advice is write what you know to start.  In my experience creative writing slovs down to a crawl when I tried researching too much in the beginning.  I'd save reaching for after you're into things a bit and just write write write at first.

But that might just be me?

But after that yeah the better you can write what you know the better your story will hang together and keep the readers coming back for more.  Also names for instance.  I often pull up slavic or irish or male/female name lists so my characters from ethnic areas actually have you know proper names.   Kind of cool.



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superpsycho

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Re: The Value of Research in Creative Writing
« Reply #3 on: 04/20-09:19 »

Google is a great tool.  But my advice is write what you know to start.  In my experience creative writing slovs down to a crawl when I tried researching too much in the beginning.  I'd save reaching for after you're into things a bit and just write write write at first.

But that might just be me?

But after that yeah the better you can write what you know the better your story will hang together and keep the readers coming back for more.  Also names for instance.  I often pull up slavic or irish or male/female name lists so my characters from ethnic areas actually have you know proper names.   Kind of cool.



The Deposed King
Trying to do research while you're writing is not a good idea. It's the equivalent of editing as you go. Write the story first then you can research to get the info the story requires before you do your first edit.

I prefer to state the 'write what you know' rule as 'don't write details on subjects you don't know'. When you use terms specific to a subject, it's best some research is done before you publish to make sure you've got it right.

You don't have to be a time traveler to write scifi but you don't want to get into the details of technology or the science of the future if you don't have some level of understanding on the subjects. It's okay to write about a romance that takes place on a cruise ship but don't get into the details of the ship or sailing unless you know the something about it.

And cultural name sites are a great resource. Irish, Italian, Jewish and Japanese are my favorites.
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