RESEARCH: Tips on incorporating what you find

by | Jun 6, 2017 | writing

Hey, all! Back into my long lost passion – research. Actually, it’s not so much a passion as a necessary evil. I do love history and love learning new things, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t be writing Historical Fiction/Romance if I didn’t. But there comes a point when research is just tedious, I just want to write the scene.

The dance between fiction and fact

I’ve shared before how, with Historical Fiction/Romance writers, it’s so much a dance…or an exercise in weaving. We thread in fiction and historical fact, hopefully creating a seamless tapestry. If, when writing, the research hits a dead end, work in more fiction. If the fiction begins to dry up, add in more research.

Well, there is a little more to it than that, as you can imagine. What I want to share today is how to get the research from the book and/or reliable website to the manuscript. I was not always so good about this. I have become better as I needed to. The problem is that I have a very good memory. Like, scary good. My husband wishes it wasn’t so good most of the time. But it is.

So, when I would just read over research, make notes here and there, I would then go to the manuscript and find out later that it read pretty much like the primary source. Not because I attempted to copy, mind you. But because of my nearly eidetic (photographic) memory.

What is a girl to do?

Now, when I find that primary source, or that source I have deemed reliable, I make my initial notes. Then I will go back through a few days later and make notes of my notes (not the primary/reliable source). Several days after that, I will do that again–make notes of those notes. That puts the research as much into my own words as I can get it. I then utilize the last set of notes to write my manuscript.

I’ve found this to be, by far, the best way to go with a memory such as mine.

Do you have any tricks/tips that you find useful?

"Sign up for my newsletter and get a FREE copy of the Hope in Cripple Creek prequel novella!"

Sara R. Turnquist