Mining the Law for Dramatic Gold

The law offers a great many obvious scenarios for compelling fiction. Just think about the primal needs and fears that can be evoked in a story about child custody or adoption, or a dispute between relatives over the validity of a will, or a struggle against foreclosure -- not to mention serious criminal charges. Or a story could venture onto less familiar legal battlefields … [Read more...]

Researching For Your Novel: Librarians as Friends


Writing a novel can be very intimidating, and very difficult. One of the hardest tasks any author needs to undertake is research. Whether it’s looking at the historical context of a war being used as the background of a romance novel, or understanding how an engine works for your new steampunk series, research is essential. It’s also very difficult and extremely time consuming. … [Read more...]

The Art Of Interviewing


For me, the heart of research has always been the ability to elicit information from others. For years, it never occurred to me to go to the library or rummage through magazines or official documents. If I wanted to know about something, I found experts on that subject and tried to crawl inside their minds, to cram everything they would tell me in whatever time they would give … [Read more...]

Conducting E-mail Surveys and Interviews


E-mail can be an effective and convenient way to conduct an interview, and is often appreciated by busy experts who don't have time for a face-to-face or telephone interview. It enables you to compose questions carefully rather than "on the fly," and gives your interviewee time to respond carefully as well. E-mail also offers a good way to follow up on a traditional interview, … [Read more...]

Conducting Interviews

writer conducting an interview

Recently I got a call from a PR agent who had set up an interview for me with one of her clients. She wanted to let me know how much the client had "enjoyed" the interview -- a rare experience, apparently. She also wanted to let me know that if I needed more information, I had only to ask. My first reaction was "Gee, what did I do?" My second was to wonder what other writers … [Read more...]

Is It Research or Plagiarism?


Hi! I am a beginning freelance writer. I am writing an article in which I've based some of my ideas on texts I used in college. Will I be sued if I don't ask the authors' permission? They say that "stealing from one source is plagiarism, but stealing from many sources is research." Is this true? At what point does the use of previously published material cross the line from … [Read more...]

4 Ways to Research Information Before You Write Your Book


Whether you're writing non-fiction, historical fiction or fiction in any other genre, you will need to do some research. Research plays a huge role in book writing because without an adequate level of knowledge, your book will lack credibility and authenticity. That is why it is important you take the time and the effort to learn about the setting and/or subject matter before … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Research Your Nonfiction Book


If you are writing nonfiction, chances are you will have to research. Here are seven of the most effective ways to go about it. 1. Interviews The first rule of interviewing is to find an expert. The second is to use every listening skill at your disposal. If you don’t understand what you’re hearing, ask for clarification. You are there to learn, not to show the other … [Read more...]

What Do Your Readers Want? Find Out Online


Authors do not write only for themselves but for readers. A great way to find out what your readers are interested in, so you can write about those topics and attract more readers, is to analyze online search results and then capitalize on the information you find. Using search engine and keyword results, questionnaires, and Google Alerts can lead to giving readers what they … [Read more...]

Research Your Characters


Common sense tells us that when writing a novel, especially your first, you should write about what you know. During my degree the one thing my lecturers drilled into my passive skull was that I needed to write from memory 'as you can’t write about what you haven’t experienced’, or so they said. I was 21 at the time and had been through two childish break ups. Both, in … [Read more...]