R – Research

Research is both my biggest strength and my biggest weakness; for me it is one of the best parts of  being a writer. I spend a lot of time researching to make sure I have everything clear.  I once researched blacksmithing tools and jargon to better understand a walk through character who would only appear in one scene.

I am part of a writer’s circle called The Inkslingers and amongst these fine writers I am often the butt of an ongoing joke that they rarely see me writing…I am always lost in research.

Many will argue that one of the benefits of writing in the fantasy genre is that you don’t need to research anything, you can imagine everything and people will just fill in what they need or accept that in your world certain things apply or don’t apply that we take for granted in the real world.

I am not one of those people. I want to make fantasy real and if I don’t understand something I can’t write about it including how to shoe horses?

Welcome the internet. I do most of initial research online and it meets most of needs.


Occasionally I’ll have a subject that requires a more academic knowledge and then I’ll turn to the library.

One of the biggest perks of being a writer is having a professional reason to access national libraries. Some of these buildings are just so beautiful that the very experience of simply being allowed to enter them is humbling and the texts they house are often very old and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to touch and read them.


Czech National Library

How do you divide your time? Is research important to you and why?


5 responses to “R – Research

  1. I absolutely adore research! I even keep documents with all the sources I’ve used to write my historicals, adding in new websites and books as I discover and use them, and so I can go back to them if I need them again later. Sometimes I get so involved in research, it’s hard to do much writing. Right now my main focus of research is Budapest, though my characters have to experience most of it as the heap of rubble it was in 1945, not the beautiful Pearl of the Danube.

    • I have exactly the same problem! The getting so involved in research that it’s hard to find time to write not about Budapest!

      How lovely. One of my projects is a historical novel set in Granada, Spain initially and will follow the fall of the arabs and their journey to Istanbul. Historical novel’s are particularly research heavy, but here the research is 100% essential no quibbles what so ever.

  2. A poorly researched book will always fail on some level to connect with a reader who better understands the subject. Without that integrity, why bother. That said, it is easy to get too lost in detail. At some point, you must write, right?

  3. I’m with you, I agree that research adds a realistic touch, even in fantasies. I often joke that I need to figure out how to get paid to research all day. (I haven’t figured out how yet, lol)

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