1. m3opa
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    m3opa New Member

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    research

    Discussion in 'Research' started by m3opa, Jul 18, 2011.

    Hey,

    as my first ever post in these forums i thought i would ask a question that has been bugging me for years. how much research needs to go into writing a story.

    Ive had a plot in mind for a very long time now, but i have never been too sure how much research would be needed.

    is there such a thing as too much research?

    I know it may be a silly question but im really unsure.

    thanks.
     
  2. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Research is relative to the subject, your personal familiarity with that subject (Michael Crichton may not need to research much for a medical thriller, nor John Grisham for a legal one but most folks don't have their specific expertise in their respective areas), and just how accurate you need to be.

    Is there such a thing as too much research? For me, I always recoil when reading something and some glaring inaccuracy jumps out at me. It totally destroys the writer's credibility for me. So I always strive to never have such errors, though I know, sometimes I probably do. Nonetheless, I still try to be as accurate as possible so I do a great deal of research. Of course, I have an insatiable curiosity so research is easy for me. It becomes too much when you reach the point of research instead of writing, rather than research for writing. Also, you should know that not all the information you uncover during your research will - or should - be included in your manuscript. In fact most of what you learn probably should not be included unless you are writing a technical document of some sort. It is material you probably should know if it affects your characters' behavior in some way but you don't want to make a sci-fi thriller into a tedious dissertation on the effects of carbon monoxide on human tissue, or something like that.

    Does that answer your questions? Probably not. As I alluded at the start; research is an individual thing.
     
  3. m3opa
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    m3opa New Member

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    thank you for your help, i think research would be needed more to keep the reality of the story. its a project i have been working on that seems to be a bit unrealistic at times, which defeats the whole purpose of the story. i like realistic settings but i dont want the readers to feel as though they are just reading fact after fact.

    hopefully the research i have will be enough.
     
  4. m3opa
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    m3opa New Member

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    thank you for your help, i think research would be needed more to keep the reality of the story. its a project i have been working on that seems to be a bit unrealistic at times, which defeats the whole purpose of the story. i like realistic settings but i dont want the readers to feel as though they are just reading fact after fact.

    hopefully the research i have will be enough.
     
  5. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I think research depends on the story.

    If your MC is a genius on a certain subject, then you must do alot of research on that subject.

    Basically, you need to be able to make the reader think you know as much as your MC does about what ever subject they know.

    Example:
    If your MC rides a horse occasionally or just to get from A to B, they will know the bare minimum.
    If your MC rides often and loves it, they will know alot more about horses.
    If your MC is a trainer/(good) breeder, they will even know more.
    If your MC is a Horse vet, then they will need to know even more.
    These are just examples, and are not even clear cut either. As the trainer of my horse also knew alot of how to treat horses and their illnesses and injuries.

    I try not to guess about things I am not sure about. If you are not certain, look it up. Simply google it. You might learn something.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the story and how well you know the setting, I guess. there's nothing saying you HAVE TO research if you're not writing a story that doesn't request it, just for the sake of it. I don't think there is something as too much research, but remember that you don't need to and shouldn't use everything you've come up with when doing the research, lots of people feel it's a waste not to use every tiny detail when they maybe even don't have a place in the story which only weigh down the novel and make it sound too academic.
     
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  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^

    Yes, good point. Don't write as if it's a research project or thesis, but instead try to incorporate nuggets of 'knowledge' into your book.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There is definitely such a thing as too little research. Then your book has inaccuracies in them, and readers, being smart people, will tend to notice them.

    I don't think there is such a thing as too much research. It's not like knowing too much is going to hurt you. I can see it hindering you in two ways: 1) you spend all your time researching as an excuse to never start writing the book; or 2) you decide that since you did so much research the reader is going to get to know everything that you learned, and instead of focusing on the story you're piling information onto the reader that she neither needs to know nor cares about.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no formula or right/wrong amount... each story/book/article has its own research requirements... no two projects will need the same amount of time/info...
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Too much research is when it becomes a means of procrastination.
     
  11. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Some things research taught me:

    1.Taser and stun guns don't knock you out, they can make parts feel the worst of hitting your funny bone. ie numb then pins and needles and pain.

    2.Hitting someone on the head is just as or more likely to kill them as knock them out.

    3.Asystole or no heart beat is not a shockable rythmn. Which means using an AED(automatic defibulator), it will not shock the person with no heart beat.
    a.personal experience-when shocked the person does a flinch, they do not jump like in the movies.

    Just a few examples of common movie/books mistakes that simple research would reveal.
     
  12. m3opa
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    m3opa New Member

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    Thankyou for your help everyone, i will take the advise and act upon it. :)
     

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