One of my community college English classes was taught by a professor who thought of research as something rewarding and rather fun. “It is a quest,” he said. “A journey.”
You’d think that writing novels would require no research. After all, you are making something up that’s totally fake and hasn’t existed before. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Writing fiction takes a great deal of research, especially if you want to write something that’s realistic, and if you want to draw your reader into the world you’ve created.
Books by authors like Jodi Picoult and John Grisham require a lot of research since they’re so realistic. Many of Ms. Picoult’s books deal with real-life diseases and court issues. Grisham’s novels wouldn’t be so successful if they hadn’t come from his real-life knowledge of what a trial lawyer does. Any historical novel you read is more than likely the product of months or years of research.
Even if you’re writing fantasy novels and you’re making up your own worlds, you have to do some research to determine what’s been done before – or how you can create worlds that make sense in a logical way. If you’re going to have anti-gravity in your novel, how will that work?
You may despise doing research, but it’s good to think of it as a journey in itself – or a mini-quest on the journey of writing. You’re searching for facts that will make your stories and your settings more realistic, so they are more likely to grab hold of readers’ imaginations.