Researching Your Novel

Doing research for your novel can either go one of many ways; it can either be incredibly fun, or depressingly boring, and somewhere in between is the ever-present fear that one day the police are going to show up because you were Google-ing which poisons are untraceable in the human body.

But research is necessary when it comes to writing. It’s about as important as the actual writing you’re going to be doing.  Want to write a novel that involves a character undergoing heart surgery? You’ll need to research that. And not just the symptoms of whichever heart alignment your character has, but also about hospitals in general (especially if there’s a scene set inside a hospital), what a heart surgery entails, and even the aftermath of surgery and the possible complications.  Research everything.

And don’t just Google it. Google is helpful, yes, but only for the first few drafts while you’re still getting your story together. But if you’re going to be writing about your character undergoing heart surgery, you’ll need to go further. Go to the library, read up on it. Study it as if you’re studying it for your degree. Ask someone who has a degree or PhD in health and medicine. You could ask an actual doctor/surgeon, but don’t just go up to them while their working and ask them if they’ll answer a few questions. Maybe make an off-work appointment for an interview or even send them an email. 

I’m not saying you should do this for all of your research, and their are somethings you can’t research all that thoroughly anyway. I’m currently working on my novel and in the very first chapter there is a funeral. But I’ve never been to a funeral before, I know very little about what happens, but I’m not going to go attending funerals uninvited just so I can see what happens (That would just be an awful and offensive thing to do). But I’m not going to let that stop me, especially as I have so many resources for me to use. 

So remember, research is key. If you don’t have the drive to bother researching, then you shouldn’t be writing. You would be surprised in the difference a little bit of research can do for your writing.

Happy writing,

Lisa 

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