Wednesday 9 September 2015

Research for your Novel #ChaBooChaLite

Research is something that, with most books, you will have no choice but to do at some point during your writing. If you are writing a fiction novel, than you will need to research a variety of things for your book?

Some things you might need to research when writing a fiction novel:

When is your story set? If it's in the past, what did people wear? How did they speak? What buildings were already built in that era? How were women treated? What occupations were prevalent? How did people travel? How was food prepared? As you can see, the list of things you will need to know if you story is set in the past is a long one, much longer than the questions asked here. And you will need to do thorough research on the topic in order to write a story that won't ask people to suspend their belief more than they should have to. Local museums, libraries and, if you have one, your local historical society are good places to start your research. Elderly relatives can also be true fonts of information about the past.

If your story is set in the future, it's important that you portray a future that is believable. What types of technology are being invented today? How do you think they will change by the time period your story is set in? Science and technology magazine could be a good source for finding out how some things are already set to change in the near future.

If you story is set in the present, your research won't have to be as intensive, unless your setting is somewhere that you are not familiar with.


Where are you setting your story? How is the setting important to the story and the events within the story? Have you done enough research on your setting to be able to write about it? Is your story going to be in a different world? If so, what do you need to research in order to accurately portray this mythical world?

Some authors who have a book set in the present day world use the need to research their chosen location for their setting as an excuse to travel. Some authors keep their stories located somewhere that they already know very well, but even then, there is research that might need to be done about the location. If the setting is local but in the past, local museums can be a great help in your research. For local stories set in the present, see if your town or city has a visitor's welcome center.

If your protagonist or antagonist are using weaponry of any kind, you will need to research the type of weapon and how it is used. for example, different guns have different weights and caliber of bullets. Some guns and rifles take longer to reload than others ans some guns and rifles shoot faster than others. Some shoot more bullets before needing to be reloaded than others do. You have automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons. Which will your character be using? And, taking a moment to look back at setting, which weapons are legal or illegal to carry in your story's location? What about licensing regulations within the chosen location for your story? 

Archery also contains differences that need to be researched. There are long bows and short bows, as well as cross bows and compound bows. Do you know what makes each of them different? And what about the way they feel when you use each one? Does one take more strength to pull back than another does? How fast can each type shoot arrows? What types of arrows do they use? Did you know that the compound bow was created in such a way that it reduces the holding weight when it reach full draw position? Or that the recurve bow is the only bow style allowed at the Olympics?

There are several other weapons that your characters might make use of; a few examples are swords, throwing knives and poison darts. An extra step for your research would be to take a class that teaches you how to use the weapon. One class might be enough to give you an idea of the level of skill and difficulty and how each movement feels for the person wielding the weapon.

And a whole lot more:
The types of research you will need to do will depend on what or who your novel is about, where it is set and many other factors. Each novel is unique and so is the research that it will need in order for it to be written well.

What have you needed to research for your novels?


Everyone who is signed up for ChaBooCha Lite and comments on this post will be entered into a drawing for the cat charm book mark (similar to the one shown above). The drawing will occur at the end of the month and the winner will be announced in a blog post.


  1. I'm very excited about a new YA idea, so this research reminder is fabulous! Thanks! 😊

  2. Great article! I’m a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” writer and do not outline my stories per se, as I don’t like to be hemmed in when my manuscript decides to hang a left into the unknown. However, I do tons of research before I begin writing and keep a list of words, names, money, foods, etc close at hand.

    For my middle grade novel, Ned, I researched, and researched, and researched 17th century Scotland... everything from flora and fauna, to animals and birds, food, clothing, children’s games, what Inns looked like, money, auctions, wagons and carriages, festivals and holidays…you name it I researched it, even researched booze and perfume … and loved every minute of it!

    Am keeping my fingers crossed that I win the cat bookmarker!

  3. Since historical fiction is my passion, I appreciate your reminder to research thoroughly. To me, that's more difficult than writing the story!

  4. Sometimes you can research too much. You need to know when to stop. But finding those nuggets, those special facts is exciting.

  5. I've had to research all about Aussie Rules Football and Rubik's Cubes lately. As someone who doesn't like sport, I never thought I'd be researching footy! I still can't solve a Rubik's Cube, though my 13 year old can.

  6. Researching a new book is one of the best parts, I love getting out there with my camera and exploring. Great post.

  7. Thanks. I've stalled out on revisions for my ChaBooCha project from March because of this very thing! I adore researching the history and culture but am beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed!

  8. I love researching! In fact I find I get very distracted while I'm researching one topic and easily go on to another. I set one of my writing days aside just for research. I find it so fascinating! Thanks for a great post and reminder!