Monday, February 16, 2009

How Much (and what) Research?

When creating a believable world in any novel, how much and what kind of research should you do?

There is no simple answer to this, but in order to create a balanced and believable world, you need at least a passing knowledge of history.

For instance, if you're background is a crumbling empire, a knowledge of Byzantium would not go amiss. If it's a conquered planet seeking renewal, a history of Africa would give you an insight into what happens and how.

What about slavery? Any number of personal accounts will give you an insight into slavery, both ancient and modern. Mythology? The standard western ideas involve Rome, Greece and Scandinavia, but have you considered Aboriginal or Hindu myths?

Here's a few books to get you started:

Byzantium by Judith Herrin
Story of Mary Prince by Mary Prince
Africa: A History by Basil Davidson
Medieval Lives by Terry Jones

Have fun researching.


missieone said...

Caught up on your last few Blogs this morning and your insight never ceases to evoke a smile and sense of peace. Keep doing what you do.

Cindy said...

I am braving my way into a new novel and not only is it the hardest one I've ever attempted, I know I am going to need to do a lot of research. I enjoy researching but sometimes I get so caught up in the sheer amount of it that I find it hard to pick and choose what it going to be pertinent to the story. Oh well...I guess I'll see how it goes. Good luck with the writing!

Martin Willoughby said...


I've found that I always do far more research than I ever need for a story. Still, it helps with all those TV quizzes.