By Lynette Eason
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on…research. I actually love this part of the job because I get to learn and write about all kinds of fabulous things. Not only that, but I get to meet some top-notch people who are always ready to offer their advice on how best to portray their career.
So…how does one go about researching for their novel? One of the things that I’ve found super helpful is thinking about my story and the kind of information I’m going to need. Meaning, I do some pre-research. If I know I’m going to have a military hero with a military job, I know I’m going to need some good information from someone with that expertise. One of the ways of finding someone like that is by reaching out on social media. There are so many great people out there who are willing—even eager to share to make sure you get it right in the story.
Another great way to find people who can—and will—help you out is to head to the conferences where they are attending. Now, I know this can be an expensive venture, but I’ve found it’s more than worth it. Think of conferences as an investment in your writing. The good thing is, they’re also tax deductible!
Seriously, I can’t think of one conference where I came home thinking, “Well, that was a waste of time and money.” Not one. As long as you’re making the effort to talk to people, gather business cards, make those contacts, not only will you come away with some great resources for your novel, you might even make a new friend or two.
One word of advice about those business cards: Build a database in numbers or excel and enter the information into that. That way, if you lose the cards, you still have the contact info. All of this is great information on research, right? But remember, you can’t spend ALL your time researching. You still have to actually write the story if you want to get it published within a decent time frame.
Set yourself a time limit on the research. If you spend six hours a day writing, vow to spend an hour or two of that in research then get back to the writing. You can always go back and fix the stuff that needs more research, but if you never get the words on the page, you can’t fix it. Well, there you go. Those are just a few of my research tips. How about you? How do you research your stories? Can you add some wise words to help others dig into their research?
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master’s degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com