How many of you spend hours and hours researching what vegetables commoners would be able to afford during winter in the 18th Century, or how bad the storm was in January of 1956, in Sydney? What about how long the average person can hold their breath?
As a writer, we are always researching something, whether you’re a romance author, historical-fiction author, non-fiction author or fantasy author.
|Photo by Te NGuyen on Unsplash|
Why do we do research? Are we trying to answer the hard questions? Sometimes, maybe. Are we trying to create a world where our readers feel like they’re living and breathing the story we’ve created within the pages? Absolutely.
In order to make your story believable, we need to research as much as we can. You don’t want to see my Google history … really! But sometimes, I think research can only take us so far.
I write mainly Fantasy and Science Fiction. A lot of the things I’m creating in my story, I have to imagine. No one can say they know what it’s like for a dragon to breathe into your face or what its scales feel like. These things can only imagined, but sometimes taking examples from our experiences can help bring these to life.
As writers, we need to go out into the world and experience as much as we can. I would never have known the satisfying pain of accomplishment you get in the tips of your fingers if I never started learning to play the guitar. I thought it was just about learning the chords, but it’s hard to get your fingers into those positions when you’re not used to it and after playing for ten minutes (I’m still learning), the strings dig into your fingers. I now have this wonderful experience I can write about.
If you’ve never watched True Memoirs of an International Assassin, you really should. He’s the type of writer I want to be. I want to make sure my story rings as true as it can and in order for me to do that, I believe I need to experience as much as I can. You can only empathise with someone if you’ve gone through something similar, so wouldn’t it be the same writing a book?
You’re not going to be able to experience everything, I mean as much as I want to know how painful it would be to get shot in the arm, I’m not going to go out looking to get shot.
If your character likes to ride horses and you’ve never ridden one, go and find a place where you can learn to ride. If she paints, make a day of it. Experiment with oil paints and watercolours. If he’s a hacker, there are always some courses on the internet to teach you how to code.
Don’t just research your stories. If you can, why not make that big batch of jam your nana is making in your story. You’ll experience the heat from the pot and the sticky, sweet aroma first hand. You’ll know just how sore your arm gets from stirring and pouring all that jam in the jars.
Go on. Get out of your chair and stop relying on Google so much. But before you do, let me know what amazing talents and experiences you already have in the comments below.
What is one thing you’re going to experience to help your WIP come to life?
K.A. Hart is a born and bred Territorian who moved to Queensland and had no choice but to stay after her assimilation into Toowoomba's infamous, collective known as Quirky Quills.
Since then, K.A. Hart has had two short stories published. Stone Bearer, appears in Glimpses of Light and Tedious Tresses, in the As Time Goes By Mixed Blessings anthology. She is currently working on a fantasy novel.