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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Research, Research, Research

I love a good mystery or crime novel. Do you read ‘dedication’ and ‘acknowledgement’ pages when you get a new book to read? The dedication page is the one where the author dedicates the book to a certain person or persons, usually someone that played an important role in the writer’s life or someone that supported their project in some way.

The acknowledgement page is where the author gives acknowledgement to the people that provided resources, information and aid in the creation of their book. These people are usually experts that provide the help/information required for the story to be authentic and believable.

Some authors, John Grisham and Scott Turrow for example, are attorneys that have extensive legal knowledge and a wealth of case histories in their heads. A lay person trying to write a crime novel who has no legal experience in such matters, have to rely on experts for information. This falls under research. You must search through printed material and rely on personal interviews.

Another favorite author of mine has a main character that is a medical examiner. In order to accurately describe forensic medicine and investigation practices, she needs the expertise provided by knowledgeable people in that field. She also utilizes experts from the FBI and various police agencies.

I have yet to write a crime novel, perhaps I never will. Who knows? I write in the paranormal genre. I already new much of the beliefs of werewolves and vampires, but I also researched more information on the subject.

Borough Hall has it’s beginnings in Bucharest Romania. As with others in my age group I learned very little about the European country in world history class while in high school. I had to glean the information I needed through research. I’ve traveled to tiny Luxembourg, passed through Germany to the Netherlands, and took a day trip to Brussels, Belgium. That’s the only personal experience I’ve had in Europe.

In order to set some of the scenes for my story, I had to describe them. How do you do that without knowing the scenery yourself? You research it. I use Wikipedia often for my research. I read about the history of the country and viewed/downloaded some of the images provided there. I also scoured the internet for more images. This gave me the resources I needed in order to provide accurate descriptions of the scenes for my readers. Look at the image above. I used images like that in my first novel, and described it in detail. Such descriptions help the reader see the scenes in their mind.

The bottom line is that unless you have personal knowledge or experience in the field in which you are writing, you’re going to do thorough research for your stories. I believe that you can never learn too much. Even researching for your writing, you’ll acquire knowledge that you’ll probably not forget. So get out there, do your research and

Good luck with all of your writing endeavors.