I’ve read many times that a good story is in its details. Concrete details like sight, sound, scent, texture/temperature, taste, and emotional impact are the ways to pull a reader into a story. It turns out that there is more.
Adding hard facts adds details too.
I’ve been to several places in British Columbia. Some could be described as big, historic, not-so-big, picturesque, farmland, a holiday spot, politically charged, or just too damn small. In my past I’ve enjoyed all kinds events, and a variety of people.
No doubt those people, places and things have changed over time. If I want to be up-to-date and use the most current information, I’ve got to find it first.
I can think of three things to research when getting started on a story:
My main characters common knowledge
- Pets, hobbies, sports, prejudice, vocation, etc
Where my characters live
- world, settings, weather, crime, business, etc
- And general details of where the story may lead
More specific items will come up as things move forward.
I never dreamed when I wrote my first story I’d land up diving in so deep. But just like you, the more I write the deeper I go.
Information is everywhere
There is no excuse for not looking up any detail no mater how big or how small. There is more than the local library, and traveling today. There’s the internet, Google Streets and Skpe/Facetime. We can literally talk to anyone anywhere.
Information is at our fingertips.
Using a character as guide, I seek out what each character needs to know to be credible. You may choose to go further. I draw the line, because if I researched everything in my story until it was only full of facts then I’d be up to my elbows in creative non-fiction.
Tell me, what’s the weirdest thing you needed to research and where did you find it?