Be sure to check out DiAnn's new release, Burden of Proof.
By DiAnn Mills
Writing and research go hand in hand. Every topic in a novel needs an element of research. If the manuscript isn’t accurate, the reader will recognize the flaw and toss our work aside. If a writer is spot-on, she will be rewarded with good reviews and more readers.
Sort of a no-brainer for us writers.
How do we conduct the process effectively and efficiently?
Focus: List what is needed for the writing project in chronological order. This includes plot, culture, setting, dialogue, and characterization.
Develop: What specialty people need to be contacted to ensure reliable information? Determine if an email or phone contact is sufficient or if they can accommodate a face-to-face meeting.
Map: Where does the writer need to visit for experience and sensory perception? Can the setting be visited at the same time of year as the story?
The following questions and suggestions will help the writer focus, develop, and map out a strategic plan and enhance your story for readers.
- Visit the area’s chamber of commerce.
- Conduct a web search of the area. Some apps will help with this: Google Maps, Google Earth, Weather Bug, or travel sites that can be found via apps or websites.
- Take or download more pictures than will ever be needed.
- Interview people living in the area. For a historical setting, this also means reading diaries and journals. How has history affected the community?
- Listen to how local people talk. Do they use a distinct vocabulary?
- What are the community’s values and expectations for life and each other?
- What is their diet? How much of their food supply is local?
- How is the area governed?
- What are the local hotels? Restaurants? What’s featured on the menus? Any daily specials
- What are the sources of entertainment?
- How do the residents celebrate holidays?
- Does the community have special festivals?
- How does the area experience the seasons, and what are average temperatures?
- What are the medical concerns? What kind of medical care is available?
- In what kinds of homes do they live?
- Where do they shop?
- How do the people dress?
- Do the arts play a vital role in the community?
- How do the people view education, sports teams, and favorite colleges?How do they earn a living?
- If the area is near a national or state park, look for research material in the visitor's section.
- Discover the wildlife and birds of the region.
- Locate a map of the area.
- Visit the local library. View newspaper archives.
- Look for documentaries on the area.
- Visit themed or local museums.
How do you conduct writing research?
(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Stuart Miles, and Master Isolated Images.)
When a writer is cognizant of what is needed to make a manuscript zip with authenticity, readers clamor for more. via @DiAnnMills (Click to tweet.)
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
Connect with DiAnn here: