1. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    Stick to what you know or research more?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by wonderland, Aug 11, 2011.

    Hi

    I am embarking on the writing of a novel series which is set in two world, the real world and a 'fantasy' world.

    I fancy that the real world will be set in a boarding school but I myself never went to boarding school. I gather there would need to be a fair bit of detail covered over the course of a few books and I'm wondering whether I really ought to write about something I know nothing about.

    What would you suggest, research a ton or stick to what you know instead?
     
  2. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Research, no doubt. If you have a story you want to write, write it. If you don'tk now about the subject, research it. You are never too old or too young to learn something new. ;)
     
  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing "what you know" doesn't necessarily mean writing about topics you're knowledgeable about right now - once you've done enough research on a topic it'll become what you know. So, yes, if you need to know more about X for your story then you should research it. You should constantly be trying to expand your knowledge. :)
     
  4. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    Research. There are a lot of great books out there that never would have been written if the author had only written what they knew. And research doesn't necessarily mean sitting alone in a library for hours and hours. If you want to know about life in boarding school, find people who went to boarding school and talk to them.
     
  5. wonderland
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    wonderland Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys.

    I called a friend who went to boarding school and it turns out his experiences were rather similar to what I want my main character's experiences to be like.

    It actually gave me a lot of motivation. It's the personal stories that help too, rather than just the details.
     
  6. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Writing what you know" also refers to writing about things you have emotional experience of. Even if you've never been to a boarding school, you may be able to imagine it vividly, because you've been away from your parents as a child, or you've been bullied, or you've experienced penalism, or...
     
  7. Rassidan
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    Rassidan Senior Member

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    Research is the greatest tool you can use so use it. The more you end up knowing the more interesting the story could be as you may stumble onto a little known fact.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Write what you know: Tap into your experiences, because that is what will give your writing a feeling of authority. This especially applies to the emotional aspects of complex experiences. Extrapolate that experience to new situations that have a lot in common with what you are writing about.

    Know what you write: Your experience has limits. So benefit from the experience of others. Research, research, research, but try to make personal contact with people who have had similar experiences part of your research. Facts are relatively easy to dig up. But knowing what it feels like to be there, that is the real challenge.
     
  9. wonderland
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    Thanks again for all the info guys.

    I'm glad the response was pretty unanimous and unambiguous.
     

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