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How to write fiction | Research

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Whether you are writing fiction or non fiction, it’s a good idea to do research and have the skills to do research. It’s easier now than it’s  ever been with the vast amount of information on the internet. I used to spend whole afternoons in reference libraries.

The picture is of the Milky Pool and it’s in an area called the Mill Fields. You don’t have to be a genius to guess that it could once have been the site of a watermill and I have tried to research that. The pool could have been a mill pond. That guard rail fascinates me, I think water is flowing into the pool through a culvert. Unfortunately, I can’t find any additional information on the internet, but for fiction I would have enough. For fiction, you need enough information to make your story plausible, if it’s plausible then you will fire the imagination of your readers. You have to inspire them to imagine, not just tell them a story. Your inspiration can come from many sources, photography, experiences, art, films, but you have to go out and find those inspirations; or at least switch on the TV.

Lack of research often shows in both fiction and non fiction. The science fiction writer who thinks imagination is enough and doesn’t need to make the story plausible by researching real science will end up with a story that is simply implausible. Writers have to be curious about just about everything. I just had another look on the internet for information about that pool in the photo and there was a colliery there, that would explain quite a lot. I was curious, it doesn’t really matter whether the knowledge will be useful in my writing or not. It’s another piece in the jigsaw that we call knowledge and will fit in with the other zillion pieces somewhere, some day.

Little things can make a story plausible. I wrote about a ship sailing South and then the crew going ashore onto a island. When they looked out to sea later, where would the sun set? They would look down the beach to the West to see the sun set of course, but I think that little detail makes the story plausible. We can stretch the imagination, but not as far as having the sun set in the North!

We also need to be inspired and research can do that for us. We come up with all sorts of information if we are open to new ideas and allow information to fire our imaginations. When I’m getting ready to write a blog, I often look at what’s currently happening in the world and the latest news. I use pictures for inspiration, I have my little outings taking photographs. Without inspiration, we have little to write about.

Sometimes the inspiration comes from deep within us. When I was writing about how a man relates to a sick child, I had to think how I would feel and act in that situation. It can be difficult to admit our innermost feelings and allow them to inspire us and write something based on  very personal feelings, but that can make the story very dramatic and powerful.

Our environment also inspires us. I can look out on my English garden with it’s lawn and apples trees. The sun is shining today; the sky is clear and blue. I’m thinking about driving down country lanes in the English Countryside; perhaps if I do that later and record the experience with photographs that will inspire me to write something unique tomorrow. Who knows?

I hope today’s article has inspired you to write and given you ideas about how you can find inspiration through experiences and research. There are more amazing blogs on the Home Page to inspire you too.

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2 Responses

  1. Fairy Dharawat

    Very interesting article, the part of research elaboration is very insightful. Your photographs are also amazing. The thing with research is that it may take time, and may also cause diversion from the topic, and then when we sit for editing, the additional information usually is chopped off. But then you write,

    “t’s another piece in the jigsaw that we call knowledge and will fit in with the other zillion pieces somewhere, some day.”

    so it feels alright even after editing. The layer these information gives to the writing is deep.Nice article

    May 30, 2012 at 07:11

  2. Hi Fairy,

    I often find I don’t have time to do enough research and so if I am curious about everything I usually have some idea of where to look and that saves time in the long run. We do have to think a lot, do research and then do the writing and then try to edit to perfection; a substantial process! I have just posted this weeks blogs on the same subject of writing fiction, one on this site and one on my WordPress blog.

    Now I will start thinking about tomorrow’s blog and what research I need to do! 🙂

    May 30, 2012 at 12:09

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