Friday, June 8, 2012

Writing: Research Verses Imagination

This is my post for Day 8 of the Author Blog Challenge.

paranormal genre books
Describe the research process for your book. Did you interview people? Travel? How prominent a role did the Internet play? If you didn’t do new research, how did you learn what you needed to know to write your book?

My books are fiction, and they are not set in the real world, although they are meant to seem as if they are, indeed, a part of the real world. They all have elements of the paranormal and magical in them, so instead of research, I have to rely very heavily on imagination. I do research fantasy creatures and myths, depending on the story I am writing. If I am writing a story with wiccans in it, I will research ingredients for spells and the different properties in those ingredients. If I am writing a story with a character who is a strict Catholic, I will research the religion in order to get my portrayal of the character right. If I am writing a story about vampires, I will research the folklore regarding vampires. But after the research is done, imagination takes over; otherwise my creatures would be just like everyone else's.

I do read a lot of novels in the genre I write. It helps to generate ideas. It helps me to see current trends in the genre. It helps me to see what works in the genre and what doesn't work. I don't think anyone should write in a genre that they rarely or never read. You have to have love for a subject to be able to write really passionately about it, and if your novel doesn't have passion, your readers won't feel moved by it.

In contrast, in the non-fiction book I am writing on health and weight loss, I am conducting a lot of research on the topic, along with interviewing others who, like me, have managed to lose a large amount of weight and keep it off. I am reading research papers and medical journals on the topic as well. If I want this book to be helpful and informative, then I need to make sure I know as much about the topic as I possibly can. I have lived a healthy lifestyle, lost over 145 lbs of excess fat and maintained the weight loss through a healthy diet and exercise regime, which accounts for part of my research - research through living it - but I owe it to my readers to keep them as informed as possible on not just my own knowledge of the subject, but on the current knowledge from the experts.

1 comment:

Jo Michaels said...

I think there's a healthy level of guidance and passion within any great novel OR how-book. Well said! WRITE ON!