As a fiction writer, that title is something easy to say. But as a journalist, writing should be based on facts. I’m not a professional journalist but I’ve been a news writer and managing editor for our school paper back in college. Writing news follows an inverted pyramid pattern and has to be factual and up-to-date. With that kind of training, my logical side has this tendency to put down facts in my fiction, yet my creative side wants to mangle with these facts to bring out an incredible story. But readers nowadays could tell if a novel or story was well-researched or not. And once a reader had sensed a not-so-well-researched story, he or she could drop the novel and walk away.
All writers will agree that even crime fiction writing still needs to be researched. An author should take time to look for facts regarding characters, places, events, business establishments, and even the industry where these characters work. It could be by reading books and other printed materials, watching films and videos, or interviewing experts on the subject matter. Whatever kind of research and information related to the story has to be taken in and noted down. Most of the time, I have more information than what I need or would use in the actual novel. But that’s okay, better to get the facts straight first and discard the unnecessary information afterwards.
How much research will I put in my fiction? I would say enough to make the characters, places, events, or business establishments realistic and logical for the readers to relate with. At the same time, something enough to provide me the creative liberty to put in fictional elements to make a story become larger than life. Research should be used more as background information to give me the confidence to write about the story without sounding too ignorant or too all-knowing.
I’m taking my time to do research for this novel I’m currently writing. Good thing I have a good set of reference books and an online writing tool that helps me map out my story as I research. I’m even contemplating to interview a criminal lawyer cum police officer soon. If you know someone I could talk to, feel free to contact me through this website.