Research is a fundamental part of writing. Sometimes we think we know everything about a topic or place, but it’s always wise to check the facts. Readers are savvy, and an error can pull them right out of your story.

One of the most common approaches I use for research is other novels, and here’s why they are my first point of reference:

  • Reading novels similar to what I’m writing helps me determine no one’s already written the same idea I have;
  • Non-fiction novels give me the background information I need for a particular setting or character.
  • Sometimes, I’m just hunting for specific vocabulary for a character so I’ll read something set in the same era or location.

At the moment, I’m wading through a dictionary of slang, picking out words and phrases I heard as a child but swore I’d never use. As I add another phrase to my collection, I feel my characters’ dialogs come to life.

Of course, novels are only one source, but more on other avenues next write.

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