Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Researching - Don't Go Down The Rabbit Hole

I hear far too many authors running into this problem with their novels. They feel the need to get some authentic research for their stories. But then, it all falls apart. That first piece of research turns into more and more and more. Eventually, they are researching things that are so off the mark and not even close to their own stories. To the author, however, they feel that all of this research is truly necessary.

But is it?

Like everything we do with our stories, we have to ask if what we are doing is really necessary to making the story better or advancing the plot. If it is not necessary, then it doesn't need to go into the book. The same goes for the research. Will your readers REALLY need to know that information?

I recently saw an author on a Facebook group I work with researching these ancient maps of an obscure town in England. OK, I get that they might want to know something about the area. That's fine. But needing to know the smaller street names and the locations of individual trees and plants might be taking things too far. 

Do you readers really care? Probably not.

I get it! There is a ton of research out there. With everything we have in the digital world, we can pretty much reconstruct any city or time. But if you are writing about general fiction, keeping it simple might be the best approach.

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