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Researching and writing.

I was thinking about the post I wrote yesterday and I couldn’t get out of my mind what I said about Jule Verne’s book. I still think all what I said, but I decided to write another post to explain my point of view on the researching part. I felt that mine was just a critique and not a very constructive one.

What I want to point out revolves around research, and as I love researching myself I think it’s better I make this clear.

Research is important in order to write believable things, in particular if we’re writing about existing objects and places. I do research myself even to get inspiration for a high fantasy books, but I guess that the most important bit is the use we do with all the material we gather.

I mean maybe not everybody enjoy getting more and more knowledge without showing it off but there are different ways of doing that, given that is really important showing it off.

I’m an ignorant compared to many people, very ignorant to be honest, more than I want to admit, but still I’m not going around suffocating other human beings with all the things I might know more than them.

And yet I’ve found in my life many individuals who just play the part of the know_ all people, not necessarily knowing really everything they claimed to know but able to sell the few notions they had. On the other, hand I met persons who, although possessing huge culture, just give to you some bits to make yourself comfortable. Of course the latter kind is the one I aspire to be and I love most.

Said that, let’s pass on to the writing part. Many workshops teachers or suggestions about writing you find in books or in the web tell you that it’s a good thing researching but during the writing process not everything goes into the tale. In this way the expert who’ll pick up your book won’t feel fooled, you’ll be true to your reader and your reader won’t feel you’re treating him or her like a stupid. At the same time you’re not vomiting details on details, just killing the narration.

For example one of my teachers said he studied one night solid to find information about rocking chairs in Victorian period and this helped him to produce a paragraph of few lines. Jule Verne probably would have written a whole chapter about the history of rocking chair.

That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

Jule Verne doesn’t know when to stop. I know his main characters are travelling into the centre of the earth but maybe you could focus on what they find around or the feeling they’re going through (something he does actually in a heavy and boring way anyway), he could have worked with imagination. Instead he concentrates whole chapters on the minerals and chemical component of the rock strata and so on.

In conclusion I think that it’s good to research but most of it will end up enhancing your own knowledge, but it will certainly help to write a good piece.

What do you think about that?

Do you research?

How do you do that?

Do you write much of what you learn in your book?


2 thoughts on “Researching and writing.

  1. The next novel I’m going to write is going to require a lot of research around orchestras and classical music, two things I know nothing about. Yet the research will be used minimally, simply for a few technical terms and decisions on what songs to use in descriptive passages.

    I love reading and acquiring new information, yet for some reason I much prefer researching my novel information by talking to people in the necessary fields. Maybe it’s the story telling aspect, but for some reason I detest reading to get information for a novel, even if I do it for everything else!

    • I guess that this is even better! First hand experience. If you can it’s good but if you cannot, you’re left with books and old style research!
      Happy to know I’m not alone in this!

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