Okay so you’ve got an idea and now you want to roll with it. What’s the first thing you do? In my case it’s usually procrastinate and work on what I consider the easy bits, character design. This is probably not the best thing to do, but the writing process is a messy one, and I have yet to find the perfect formula. However, especially if your story includes topics you aren’t an expert on doing some research is a pretty good first step.
Google Images: Research
I don’t really have a one size fits all method because it really depends on what you’re looking for, but in my last post about idea’s the video I linked to on my Youtube channel does mention Google Scholar if you don’t have access to a school database. There are also links to citation sources if you need to do research for school writing. Otherwise, in all honesty just regular plain old google can be helpful too. Obviously ‘.com’ websites are a little less trustworthy if you need information on historical figures or a specific time period, but on the flip side if you want insight to more personal issues blogs can be a good place to look.
For example the tired excuse of not having friends of ‘xyz’ race or with ‘bqt’ sexuality in the age of the internet doesn’t hold up. Now my experiences are pretty varied (black, female, bisexual, certified nerd), but there are still millions of experiences I’ve never had and sometimes even just watching people on Youtube share their lives has been a good way of opening my mind. Obviously one can increase their social circle in real life, but if you’ve got social anxiety like me connecting to people via the internet is just as acceptable. Of course nobody owes you their life story, nevertheless your characters will feel more real the more effort you put into learning about other peoples lives.
In that vein, research isn’t just about things from the past or about people. Research can also be a personal experience. For instance I’m still in need of a job so I plan on contacting a temp agency later this week in order to assist me. One of my characters, Yaritza, while completely different in temperament than me, is also going to be using a temp agency. My experience for personal reasons can still count as research.
Google Images: Temp Agency
Even stories (like mine) which are mostly fantasy knowledge of history is a good foundation for any story. In the case of stories involving kingdoms and dragons, it’s a great idea to be aware of how monarchies work, and as for the dragons the more you know about real reptiles the better you can branch off and make up new shit. For history as I mentioned above the scholarly route is probably better. Of course I wouldn’t be a good nerd if I didn’t also mention that libraries/books are another great tool for research, and can be a great point of reference. Museums as well can double as inspiration for ideas and a way to get information.
American Gods character Bilquis checking out her own exhibit
Whether you use your own life experiences or other peoples, doing research is a great way to make interesting characters. Looking into the past and diving into human patterns can also help your setting flourish and with developing central themes. Even if you’re writing a simple kids book about a child and their pet dog there’s a lot of things you can do and look up to ensure you’re telling a fun and compelling tale. It might be taxing sometimes, but doing research can also be a lot of fun. Be sure to keep track of your sources and take plenty of notes!!!!!
***Featured Image– hunting for information get’s you way more images of just the hunting part. Go figure 🤗
*Next Monday I might get artsy and talk Pinterest….