Research is a big part of writing a story, and our focus this week.
Watch for stories from authors Lise Horton,
Ursula Renée and Anna DePalo.
Research is often not very fun, but every writer has to do it., including me. I’ll spare you the obvious (do a Google search!), and with the additional caveat that I writer contemporary romance, here are my top research tips:
A little goes a long way. Readers want the flavor of authenticity and believability without being lectured to. Research should be sprinkled into your story so it’s not obvious. Like seasoning on a fine dish, it should not overwhelm everything else. So don’t feel as if you have to know everything.
It doesn’t have to be hard. If you need to include a mass retailer in your current book, and you happen to be thinking about this while passing J. Crew at the mall, why not use J. Crew? More than one successful writer has used this approach. When I first heard about it, I thought, of course! Within reason, this is a fantastic plan. (I mean, you wouldn’t want to be in Palm Springs thinking about a book set in New York and have your landscape be cacti—unless we’re talking about a fantasy book.)
Write what those around you know. At a conference a few years ago, Harlan Coben mentioned that he was married to a pediatrician, and voilà, one appeared in his books.
Magazines. I write contemporaries, so keeping abreast of current popular culture is important. I read People and Vanity Fair. When I was writing a series about present-day British aristocrats, I read Tatler.
Biographies/Memoirs. These books are great for little gems of information. I’m currently writing a book about a Hollywood actress. Lucky for me, Mindy Kaling’s latest book, Why Not Me?, came out. Do actors fake it? Well, according to well-placed source Dr. Mindy Lahiri, aka Kelly Kapoor, aka Mindy Kaling, the unwritten rule in kissing scenes is “no tongue.”
Social media. Follow people who might give you insight into a profession or field. For example, the last issue of People that I read had a page devoted to celebrity makeup artists and listed their Twitter handles. Similarly, YouTube is a treasure for how-to videos.♥
Anna DePalo is the USA Today best-selling author of a dozen romance novels. Her next book, SECOND CHANCE WITH THE CEO, the first in the Serenghetti family series, will be released in September 2016 by Harlequin. You can find Anna online at www.annadepalo.com, www.facebook.com/anna.depaloauthor, www.facebook.com/AnnaDePaloBooks and twitter.com/Anna_DePalo
This is the last article on Research this week.
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