Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Successful Novelist - Lesson Five

The Importance of Research

- "Write what you know" - a common rule, and sounds like good advice, but what does it mean?
- today, most writers writing about what they know is writing about books and movies
- get out there and experience as much as you can
- as writers, you'll spend a lot time writing at your desk, labouring over stories while life passes you by
- in between projects, find stimulating new things to do, take advantage of vacations to research locales
- everything you experience has the potential to be usable in a book
- be careful as a lot of writers draw their experience pool from movies
- do the reading, conduct the interviews, then get hands-on experience
- research should be considered a reward and not a penance you need to go through before you start writing
- if you don't have a strong motivation to learn about the background of your story, maybe you'd better reconsider how interesting that story is
- be careful as the details of subject areas depicted in movies don't always bear a resemblance to real life
- don't get conditioned by what you see on the screen, do your research
- getting your details firsthand will give you unexpected dramatic details that make your scene feel authentic
- take no background details in your plot for granted
- learn about the type of fiction that you write, study its masters if you're at all serious about writing in that genere
- you need to be an expert in the subject area, as if you were preparing to teach a course in it
- don't ignore literary history, literary innocence isn't a virtue for a writer, you need to know that what you're writing isn't derivative and stale
- no matter what you write, you should want to be an innovator and research is crucial to achieving that goal

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