The Impact of Research

FeaturedThe Impact of Research

Welcome to Friday. Every Friday I share information with you. Usually it is about writing, publishing, or marketing. Occasionally it is on other matters. This week it is about:The Impact of Research.

When writing it is always good to do research.

In today’s blog I want to show the importance of doing your diligence in researching background material. I am currently writing a new novel, World of Jacob, and another one, World of Joseph, is close behind. I will use these two novels to demonstrate why I am so adamant about doing research.

I have been writing since 2003, so I’ve gained some experience. I have found that the more research I do the better my writing becomes. In the case of these two novels I came across relatively new research that I believe finally settles the debate between differing views on the dates of the Jewish people being in Egypt. There are two schools of thought on the subject. Some people favor the ‘Early’ date and others the ‘Late’ date. Almost all of this is related to Jacob/Joseph’s entry into Egypt and the Exodus.

For some time, research has pointed to 1446 BC for the Exodus. There’s just too much evidence to seriously consider another date. The controversy has centered on when the Jews entered Egypt.

As I believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, I reject the ‘Late’ date scenario as it puts events contrary to a literal understanding of the Bible. But being a careful student, I examined the claims made anyhow.

So why is this important?

To answer that we need to understand the problem. Egyptian chronology can, at best, be described as a mess. Without bogging you down with a detailed history of Egypt, I’ll cover just a few important facts.

The previously accepted chronology was based upon a priest by the name of Manetho, who developed a history of the pharaohs. Traditional Egyptian Chronology is based on this history and has been considered indisputable until recently. As a result it has been used to attack and dismiss Bible Chronology.

Over time it has been seen that pharaohs did not rule chronologically. There is an Upper Egypt (south) and a Lower Egypt (north). These two regions or nations were ruled by their own pharaohs; a fact that complicates history. Why? Because they ruled at the same time and overlapped time frames. Manetho never expected his history to be considered chronological. He simply identified the pharaoh and their rule.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century evidence has grown that the Traditional Chronology was and is wrong and therefore unreliable. This demonstrates why, from a secular point of view, history needs to be looked at from the Bible view. Of course, that is anathema to many scholars.

But when experts take this view (using the Bible as the reliable source) the result has been enlightening. Answers in Genesis (AIG) has articles on this subject that are worth pursuing just for the scientific truths revealed. This study settles many of the ‘Early’ and ‘Late’ issues.

The answer to the question above is that Egypt’s history impacted the Jewish people and a correct view of Egypt and the Jewish history in the land is very revealing. As an author of novels based on history, it has been very important for me to get the correct background just so I can have names, dates, and events accurately depicted. Confusion over dates made that very difficult in my earliest books. In fact, I’m thinking of updating previous books to reflect the now more reliable information.

As for my two novels the debates that muddied the waters were centered on who the pharaoh was during Jacob’s time and who did the Egyptian history point to as Joseph. Based on my research I have identified the pharaoh as Sosestris I and that Joseph was the Vizier known as Mentuhotep. When you read the history you easily see why it is believed that Joseph and Mentuhotep are the same person.

The result for me as a writer is to make my stories more believable and understandable. Further, I believe a well-researched book is more enjoyable to read.

Is this the typical result of research?

For me it has been. My book Perished: The World That Was benefitted from research and the book World of Noah and the Ark benefitted particularly well. In that second book I was able to discover modern research into the ark’s possible construction and design! So, yes, it is very helpful as long as you are careful about the resources you use.

For anything dealing with the Bible you can’t go wrong with AIG. And there are other resources equally reliable.

Research even helps with Speculative Fiction.

Last year I started writing Speculative Fiction (my definition is it is Science Fiction minus the Little Green Men). In this case, I needed to research current and future scientific tools, weapons, spaceships, etc. It didn’t hurt that I am aware of Star Trek and Star Wars. You can get ideas from there as well.

But again, you need a foundation built with research. Some of that research will be based on current and future facts.

For information on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We have a Free booklet telling you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Insights from the World That Was series

FeaturedInsights from the World That Was series

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Tuesday’s I try to focus on Insights. This week I am taking another look at Insights from the World That Was series.
A great deal of research goes into writing books. That goes without saying.
But what about books based on the Bible or, for that matter, on history?
The series The World That Was is a fictional story that is based on historical and Biblical facts. I didn’t one day just sit down and dash off a novel. It took tremendous research. This research involved any secular history that related to our beginnings and the Bible.
What does Secular History say?
At first glance secular history is a no-show. But part of the reason for that is that liberal educators have tampered with our history books. Not only with our nation’s history but with world history. So as an author I had to dig.
The history of the Jewish people can be found in the writings of Josephus. It is essentially a secular book thereby subject to error. Even so, it contains a lot of history. Why? Because the early history of our world surrounded a little piece of land we now call Israel. It is also known as Palestine, Canaan land, and other titles.
As you can see that invites you to do much research and you soon find there are conflicting histories. Part of this problem involves the history of Egypt. To be perfectly frank this is highly unreliable. At best you have to guess about the time frames of different rulers.
Egypt is the worst case, but to some degree the problem exists elsewhere. A partial solution comes from comparing known historical people who lived at the same time in different lands. That helps in nailing down the time table. But even that is subject to error. There is a more sure aide, but I’ll visit that later.
Of all the secular writings I have found Josephus a fairly reliable resource that sheds light on people, places, and events. This is very important from an author’s viewpoint.
Why is historical reliability important?
As an author I want readers to feel that the characters and their stories are real. To accomplish this I need them to have confidence in the “facts” of the story. In short, I strive to be accurate when describing the land so that someone who’s been there will readily accept that fact. Now there are exceptions. For example, a description of Mt. Ararat in Noah’s day will differ from a description of Mt. Ararat today. In Noah’s day snow hadn’t been seen before and therefore was a new thing to Noah and the family. Mt. Ararat would have been barren of snow when the Ark landed and for years afterward. But today it is covered in snow and ice. A lot has happened.
So it is important to know about changes in weather conditions?
To some degree, yes. Let me change that to a high degree. I had one man write me with criticisms of the land and of Mt. Ararat in my book. He’d been in the area and said it didn’t look like that at all. He’s probably correct as far as today is concerned, but my story took place over a 1000 years ago. There have been changes.
The Most Reliable Resource
Contrary to the modern liberal crowd, also known as evolutionists, the King James Bible is the most reliable book out there. While it is not a history book, it is totally accurate when it tells of historical peoples, lands, and events.
A classic example of this is found in the Bible’s numerous mentions of the Hittite people. A number of centuries ago cynics “proved” the Bible to be in error. These cynics were the most highly educated of their time. They were the experts you’d turn to regarding history, science, archeology, and more.
They successfully demonstrated that archeology had not turned up any evidence that these Hittites ever existed. This they said proved the Bible was in error in mentioning a people that had never existed and if existed were never a powerful nation.
But time went on and after centuries of denial evidence began surfacing in the early 19th century. The greatest minds of science and archeology were thus proved wrong although that is glossed over. It was of far greater importance to prove the Bible wrong. But the Bible had been right all the time!
We now know that the Bible is without doubt not only the most accurate but is completely accurate as it deals with history and science or any other subject. Man continues to deny it and offers up questions that range from the foolish to the outright manipulation of Scripture.
As an author I have not doubted the reliability of the Scriptures. As a result I discovered the solution to the problem of secular history. Test secular history against the Bible. If secular history is in complete disagreement with the Bible, then bring it into conformity to the Bible. This is particularly helpful when dealing with time frames. It brings unity to the jumbled mass of time frames and enables a writer to better understand what is going on, who is living, who is dominant, and where their chief character lives.
All to often people try to make the Bible conform to the secular. It won’t work. But when you pull secular history into conformity with the Bible it is like a puzzle of a 1000 pieces suddenly falling into their proper place!
What is my Insight?
That when writing a book that is based on history, science, or both you can rely on the Bible. Just remember that so-called “errors” are found in the reader’s mind not in the Bible. In matters of science who is talking. The Bible often relates what someone believes to be true, as with Jacob. It doesn’t comment on whether his “scientific” ideas are true or not, but simply relates the truth of what he believed or what he did.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

A Look At World That Was

A Look At World That Was

As you know I recently published my newest novel World of Shem. Since this is book 3 of my series World That Was I thought it appropriate to take a look at the series.

World That Was is a series of books covering the Book of Genesis. While each book is strongly based on the Scriptures, I have not only added my imagination but have spent hours upon hours of research regarding such things as geography, foods, clothing, and more. Below is a summary of books both published and planned.

PERISHED

This first book of the series begins with Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Expulsion and the early lives of Adam and Eve. From those early days it continues onward until the day the Flood overtakes the world.

Readers have expressed glowing comments about this novel, such as “the author brings the Bible alive!”

WORLD OF NOAH AND THE ARK

This is the second book of the series. I wrote this because there is so much confusion about the Ark, especially coming from Hollywood. Therefore I not only depicted Noah and his family but I shined the light upon the construction of the Ark itself.

But I didn’t stop there. As an added bonus to my readers I added a Q&A section at the back of the book that is worth the book’s price all by itself. Here I answer some of the misleading claims of people who believe the Ark is nothing but fantasy. These claims include the geography of the old world as well as details regarding the construction of the Ark and its floatability.

WORLD OF SHEM

Book 3 of the series covers the Flood, time on the ocean, landing on Ararat, the sin of Ham, the Tower of Babel, the Confusion of Tongues and beyond. The book continues until Abram (Abraham) is in Haran.

WORLD OF ABRAHAM

Book 4 will cover Abraham’s life from Haran into Canaan and beyond. This novel explores his travels, his love for God, his inconsistencies, his nephew Lot and what happened to him, and more. The reader gets a close up view and understanding of Abraham and Sarah.

WORLD OF JACOB

Book 5 will cover a little of Isaac but will be focused upon Jacob and his adventures. This novel will also begin taking a look at his sons.

WORLD OF JOSEPH

Book 6 will be the story of Joseph. Here the reader will see the byplay of jealousy as it is played out by his brothers. Joseph himself has a few problems that the Bible hints at and must be addressed before he fulfills God’s plan.

As you can see I have a full load ahead for me. But I am looking forward to it. Writing these novels is far more than an exercise in imagination. Much research has already taken place and more will be required. While time consuming and tiring, it is well worth the effort.

Let me leave you with this principle: Research lends credibility to your work. No matter the genre, no matter the length of the novel, and no matter your skill level, research provides the basis for a good, credible story.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

 

How I Wrote Perished Part II

How I Wrote Perished Part II

Back in July I wrote Part I about writing Perished. I had intended to write Part II before now but got a little sidetracked by other projects. I did write about Noah, but Part II is actually about the research involved in writing the novel.

Research is almost a dirty word, but it is necessary for both the non-fiction and fiction writer. For a novel to connect with the reader it needs to have actual facts. I use two methods of relating the facts:

  • To tell pertinent facts before and after the story (such as seen in the World of Noah and the Ark).
  • To include facts within the story (a practice I use in all my novels).

But how did I get the facts?

There are a number of ways.

  • Read the Bible accounts (assuming your book is based on the Bible).
  • Read history books.
  • Do a deep internet search.
  • Use logic based on historical facts.

If you are writing about the Bible it is obvious that you need to spend a great deal of time in the Bible. In the case of Perished I not only spent time in the Book of Genesis but I used other books in the Old Testament and New Testament that related to the subject. That required a great deal of time and effort.

The second item mentioned was reading history books. Not cover to cover but selecting those portions dealing with the subject. Depending on how many books you research this could take some time.

The third thing mentioned was do a deep internet search. By deep internet search I simply mean using search engines, such as Google, to search out the subject and find relevant resources. But a word of caution. While the internet is a rich source of information there is also false information. For example, there are sites that are anti-Bible. Some are self-proclaimed, but there are others who are more subtle. So you must be discerning. Find reliable resources such as Answers in Genesis and Institute for Creation Research. There are others but these are extremely reliable.

But it is the fourth item I want to spend some time on. While the Bible is true and accurate it only relates information that God wanted us to know. The whole purpose of the Bible is to show us our sin and need for a Saviour and that Christ is that Saviour. So it only relates the historical facts needed.

When writing Perished I ran into a big obstacle. While the Bible gives us a lot of facts about the world existing before the Flood, it doesn’t break it down for us. Added to this is the lack of secular history, especially anything reliable. A good example of unreliable secular history is the history of Egypt. If you want to spend a day or so struggling to put it all together try understanding Egyptian history in the light of world history. Very difficult.

So I was faced with a big unknown. I knew that the people from Adam to Noah were very intelligent and built cities, but I had no historical proof. That gap has been filled by man with evolution, which is strictly theoretical, unproven, and contrary to the Bible.

So how did I resolve this issue?

Let me give you a challenge: Find a history book that you think is reliable and start reading from known history beginning with Nimrod and other world leaders. Study the civilization that existed. Take a look at the:

  • Government.
  • Arts.
  • Industry.
  • Warfare.
  • and more.

I think you’d agree it was a very developed society. Now take a look at the preceding civilization. Evolution teaches eons of time, yet there is no real evidence that conclusively shows evolution. Instead there is evidence of a worldwide cataclysm, which we know was the Flood. So we arrive at a question: How did mankind go from a caveman society to a sophisticated society? Or, Biblically speaking, how did the world recover from the worldwide Flood which destroyed everything to a sophisticated society?

We are speaking of a 300 to 500 year time span. How is that possible? Well, logic tells us that it is impossible for that degree of sophistication to develop in such a short time from virtually nothing. BUT if Noah brought the knowledge over the Flood to the new world then everything falls into place!

And that opens up a window into the past!

It occurred to me that if I looked closely at the first 300-500 years after the Flood I had a window into what the previous civilization was like. While scientists never seem to consider such a fact, the movie industry easily adopted it. The movies I have watched, anyway, have shown a society that was quite sophisticated. Not because the industry believed the Bible, but because they had to use what they knew.

So when studying the ancient past prior to the Flood we have a window that shows us what that world was like before it was destroyed. And thereby I was able to construct that world within the pages of Perished.

Which is what research is all about. Now most of the time research isn’t so complicated. But it is needed! When someone buys a novel they want to be entertained, but they also want the world it takes place in to be accurate, true, and with some detail.

When I wrote Dead Eye Will, which took place during and after the War of 1812, I had to do a lot of research. Since most of the story took place in Ohio, Michigan, and portions of Canada I had quite a lot of research. But once again it involved three items – reading history, deep internet research, and logic.

Is it worth it?

My answer is as follows: By far most of the readers have rated my books 4 and 5 stars. One of the reasons was that I brought the story alive. The reader was able to enter the world and almost participate in it. And that is what any author wants!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

The Consequences of Research

The Consequences of Research

That’s an interesting title to this blog, but I think you’ll understand better when I am finished.

From the day I began writing I have believed that a good author should support his work with diligent research. Since most of my writing deals with Biblical history it meant really digging into the Bible.

However, it also required me to dig into secular history. This is much harder because not all countries keep accurate historical records. For example, Egypt is a country with a rich history, but its records are confusing, at best.

When writing about Shem (The Rise of Shem) I quickly learned this fact. So what did I do. First, I looked for other secular sources that might provide accurate information. In a few instances I went only with the Biblical record.

This was true when dealing with time frames. Egyptian chronology is a mess. The consequence of this meant I had to reconstruct history as best I could by comparing Biblical chronology and Egyptian chronology. This was necessary to bring a semblance of reliability.

Why was this so important?

The story ranged from the Mountains of Ararat to Egypt and to Libya. As a storyteller I wanted the story to be as accurate as possible although it is a novel.

Another example of consequences was the writing of Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles and Perished: The World That Was. Both of these books dealt with the pre-Flood world.

Unfortunately there is precious little evidence of that world in secular writings.

The consequence of this fact was that I had to dig deeper and widen my net. I not only looked at the Biblical record, I also took a look at myths. While obviously myths they did provide hints at what ancient people believed about their past.

But while studying this issue I made a discovery.

Both in Biblical and secular history there was a sudden explosion of societal growth. Nations were founded, knowledge increased tremendously, and both economic and military growth were demonstrated. In the Bible this phenomenon occurred right after the Flood, while in secular history it simply occurs with no apparent reason.

But when I made the assumption that the Bible was correct and that it happened right after the Flood I discovered what I regard as a truth: The only way society could have advanced so far so fast was if they already had the fundamentals!

Using that truism I narrowed my study to the first 500 years after the Flood. It is simply amazing how advanced the society became in that short period of time. That realization led me to this conclusion: Those 500 years afford us a peek into the past; a peek into the world existing before the Flood.

That opened the past up for me and enabled me to write a reasonable description of what that world was like. Reasonable and probable. It made my novel work!

An author should never be afraid of the consequences of research. Sure, you may discover things that contradict your presuppositions, but you may also learn something powerful and transforming that will take your book to the next level.

Now you may have noticed that I made some assumptions along the way. This is true of all writers, no matter what their views are. My assumptions were that the Bible is always correct (a proven fact) and that secular history is often influenced by other factors other than a search for truth. I also made assumptions about the 500 years. These assumptions had the consequence of opening up my story and bringing it alive!

Your research may not take you where mine took me, but good solid researching will uncover facts that you can incorporate into your novel. The more facts you have, the more believable your story.

Perhaps you have been researching a particular subject. Has it changed your views or heightened them?

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

The World That Was: Rodinia

Last issue we looked at the Resources I used. Today we are going to take a scientific look at how I came up with Pangaea, plus new discoveries.

First of all I am a fervent believer that an author has the responsibility to make his novels as realistic as possible. I am not referring to language or graphics, but rather to the underlining facts the novel is based on.

When I wrote Perished: The World That Was I used the latest information that I could find. That was 2010. Since then there has been increased details coming forth.

In fact, up until 2014 it was believed that a supercontinent called Pangaea was the world wherein the events of Perished would have taken place. Now we know that there was another previous supercontinent.

According to scientists the original supercontinent was Rodinia (Russian for “Mother Earth.”). While much is known about Pangaea they are still debating on the structure of Rodinia.

We do know that the Appalachians (located in Eastern U.S), Caledonians (located in the UK and Scandinavia), were not in existence at that time. Nor were many other modern mountain ranges.

When the Flood occurred Rodinia broke up and pieces of it formed Pangaea, which was underwater. They suggest that Pangaea lasted only a few weeks until our modern continents were formed.

This blog is not meant to be a scientific resource, but you can see how the dynamics of telling the story has changed. In fact, I am currently doing a rewrite of my very first book Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles as a Special Edition with a new title. This book will reflect the latest scientific knowledge on the subject of the Flood and, for that matter, the Ark.

Which brings me to the point I want to make: When writing a novel based in history always use resources that cover geography, climate, flora, fauna, manners, customs, and whatever else you can find.

For example, by including the latest facts in the novel the story will resonate with the readers, especially any who might know a thing or two about that historical period.

Some day I may rewrite Perished. If I do I will certainly include new information, thus enriching the reading experience.

For a list of resources I refer you to my recent blog on resources. You should find that a good starting place.

If you want to comment on this or any blog posts, please feel free to post your comments at RFrederickRiddlesWorld on Facebook.

 

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

Vacation: Opportunity to Research Book

The idea for this blog came as my wife and I have been planning a vacation. Usually when we think of vacation it is fun and relaxation, but when we think of researching a book it is hard work.

 While on the face of it the two are not compatible, they can actually work together. One of the things most vacationers like to do is take pictures, both still and video. And one of the tools used for research is pictures. And there you have the connection.

Almost any genre can be researched when on a vacation. Here in the south there are many vacation spots where we could research geography, history or simply the local flavor of a town. Come to think about it, that’s not just the south, it is anywhere.

 For example, one of our favorite vacations was St. Augustine, Florida. This city is loaded with history and geography. The city claims to be the oldest city in America, has a 17th century fort, founded by Ponce De Leon, and so much more history. Plus lots of geography.

 When visiting a place like that you want to take a lot of pictures. Not to be filed away in a closet, but as potential story lines or at least background material. And you do this while having a good time!

 I don’t know if one of us will some day write a story that takes place in St. Augustine, but we could.

 Another source is brochures. These are usually packed with information that can tickle your imagination. Plus, there is the experience itself of walking the streets, visiting the various historical buildings, and seeing the city.

 All of these take place on a vacation and are potential research material for future stories.

 But, you say, I’m not planning t write on the place we’re going to vacation at. Doesn’t matter. You might change your mind, in which case if you took the pictures and picked up the brochures you have a gold mine of information.

 Or you might use the material for some other real or imaginary place!

 The simplicity is amazing! You actually do research while enjoying yourself. Instead of hours on the computer you see, feel, and smell the facts that may be just the nugget that fires up your imagination!

 So use your vacation as a research tool.


For more information on writing visit T&R Academy.

The Importance of Research

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Today’s blog is about the necessity of research. As an author you will need to do a great deal of research.

With that in mind, let’s take a look.

We are not dealing with research resources today, but rather the necessity and the how of research.

 The Importance

Proper research is exceedingly important. Whether you are dealing with historical figures, places or events, or you are simply dealing in outright fiction you need research.

Imagine, if you will, that you are writing a novel that takes place in Pontiac, Michigan. Now most people have never been there, but I spent a good deal of my life in that city. Now let’s imagine that you write about a small family living on Main Street. Now the main street of Pontiac is Huron or M59. It is rarely called Main Street and I don’t believe there are any signs identifying it as such. So right there, I have caught an error. But it is a small error and I will probably forgive you.

But let’s also pretend that you create an imaginary street that crosses the main street. The chances of you getting that right without proper research would be extremely hard! You see what I am getting at? To a resident or former resident that would stand out. And it would distract that reader from the actual story!

Now that was a very simple example, but it is real enough. Not only would residents of Pontiac see the error, but any reader curious enough to Google the city could also discover the error.

And errors can not only distract they can cripple an otherwise well-written book. Research can save you much embarrassment.

How to Do Research?

In this day and age there are many tools that you can use, but I am going to focus on one: the Internet. There are a growing number of search engines on the Internet, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I use Google simply because I like it better than the others. My point is however that search engines are available.

In the example above, I could have Googled Pontiac Michigan and found a ton of information covering its history, industry, politics, and its geography. So using the Internet is both available and informative. This simple technique can be used on virtually any topic. Try it and you will be rewarded with more information than you know what to do with. But be careful. There is good and bad information. The Internet is not discerning. The information is there, but it may be entirely wrong.

I have written on resources in the past, so check out either this blog or Writers World, a free newsletter on writing. I write articles on this and other topics pertinent to writing. Finally, after researching for the book, don’t just state the facts. Weave the facts throughout the story so that the reader is learning all about whatever your subject happens to be. In fact, relay the facts through your characters.

What do I mean? This is answered in another blog more thoroughly, but basically the characters, in the preceding example, would talk about the city. Or they could be walking along a street and the reader would thus become acquainted with the street and its surroundings.

Research is a vital tool in the writing of both fiction and nonfiction. Make it a habit to do the proper research and then incorporate it in a way that the reader is unaware that you are spoon feeding her.