Friday, August 20, 2010
Do you research your facts?
I was lucky to find “Three Strategies for Solid Research,” an article by bestselling novelist, Gayle Lynds. She says that before you can incorporate your research into your writing, you first need to be as smart as possible about the research itself. Ms. Lynds reminds us of the following research strategies:
1. Develop a system for tracking your legwork. “Take a digital camera with you, photograph everything, dictate notes … never lose anything. Never lose anything,” says David Hewson, international bestselling author of the Nic Costa thrillers. “I keep a journal on every book I’m writing that notes down ideas, locations, characters, themes—and I keep a running diary on the book as I’m writing it. This is separate from the draft, so it acts as a left-brain perspective on the whole exercise.”
2. Get in the habit of vetting your research as you go—particularly research conducted online. Verify facts from multiple reputable sources before you record them. This way, you’ll already know that all your notes are accurate when it comes time to incorporate them into your work.
3. Be wary of cutting and pasting research nuggets directly into your manuscript. You don’t want to become guilty of plagiarism by letting someone else’s words get inadvertently mixed in with your own. If you do feel the need to paste in a block of research while you’re writing, be sure to highlight the copied text in a different color so you can go back and remove or rewrite it entirely later.
(Article reprinted from the Writer's Digest, July 20, 2010)