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 you begin writing your book.
There are four different ways you can conduct your research.
1. Books. Read books that pertain to the topic/setting/theme that you will cover in your book. For example: if the setting of your novel is in fifteenth century France, you will need to read nonfiction books that cover every aspect of France in that time. Even if your novel is set in contemporary Los Angeles, there will be certain things that you will need to double check for accuracy. If the book that you plan to write is non-fiction, read what others have written about the same topic or about a topic similar to one that you plan to write about.
Books are the easiest resource to find and since there are so many of them, based on a wide range of topics, you can find the right books without having to spend too much effort looking for them. If you don’t have the funds to purchase a book or two, you can borrow them from your local library. If you’re the type who enjoys reading online, you can purchase and download ebooks.
2. Internet. If, for some reason, you can’t find what you’re looking for in your local library or in a bookstore, you can find it on the internet. You can locate literally everything on the internet. You just need to take the time to find an outlet that best suits your needs. Once you find a website or database with the information you need, bookmark it because you will need it for future reference.
3. Oral Interviews. An oral interview is where you meet with an individual who has valuable life experience–based on or similar to what you plan to write about–and you interview him or her. This is the best method of research because it enables you to gain valuable information from a firsthand account. It’s also greatly beneficial to the interviewee because it gives him/her credit and a level of exposure once your book is published. If you know someone in your community who has struggled with the very thing that you’re planning to write about, contact him or her.
4. Internet Interviews. If your book is non-fiction, you can include a section that contains a series of stories written by men and women who have struggled extensively with problem A. For example: Dear Bully is a book that is a collection of seventy stories from seventy authors, expressing their experiences in being the victim, the bystander and/or the bully. Your book doesn’t have to be a collection of stories–starting with yours–it can be your story of inspiration to others, but one that can contain a certain number of stories from other people.
Whether you are conducting an interview with another person or drawing your knowledge from written sources, take notes and keep them in a notebook near you. You will need that information whether you are writing from experience or not.
Deanna Proach is a writer and editor at discounts.ca, a website that deals in all kinds of online discounts and which offers discount coupons. She is also the author of two novels, Day of Revenge (Inkwater Press) and To be Maria (not yet published).