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Historical research: your friend, your enemy (NaNoWriMo – Day 26)

30 Days NaNoWriMo Meme – Day 26 – Was any research involved (historical or otherwise) in your NaNo prep? 

Research_HeroA lot of research went into this project, about a lot of subject matters. When I first started toying with this idea (Ghost Trilogy came later on) I knew nothing about America in the Twenties and African American history and culture, while I knew just the basics of Lakota history and culture. It was enough to abandon the project, I suppose, but I was so in love with the characters! And honestly, at the beginning the project was simple enough that, although I knew I needed to research, I thought I could actually handle it. I would have never imagine, back then, the amount of researched I’d have gone through, nor of course that the project would explode in my hands and become a lot bigger and more complex.

The funny thing about research is that the more you know, the less you know. Everything you learn opens up new doors and you see more things that you need to know though those doors.

I often read people asking on forums what amount of research is too much research. Well, I don’t believe there is such thing as too much research. Every little information you gather helps you better understanding whatever subject you’re researching, and this will show not only in the info you actually spell in the story, but also in the info you’ll never mention. Every detail makes the picture clearer, so even if you don’t describe the picture in all the details you know, that picture is in your head and it filters though when you write. There may be – this I do believe – too much research forced into the story and that’s certainly not good for the story itself. But then storytelling is a matter of balance in so many ways. Balancing research with the true needs of the story is just another part of the process.

2 Comments

  • ganymeder
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 15:14

    I would think the point of too much research would be when you use it to put off actually writing the story.

    I do some minimal research, but since my story is in an alternate version of Earth, I also make up a lot of details that vary from the actual mythology I’m writing about.

    • Post Author
      jazzfeathers
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 19:46

      yes, sometimes too much research may be just procrastinating writing the story. But some other, history may indeed inspire you ideas you’d have never thought about by yourself ;-)

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