Researching (#NaNoPrep)

Researching?  What is this researching thing?  We don’t need no stinkin’ research before NaNoWriMo.

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I tend to do my real research when I come across a need for it mid-book.  Very rarely do I say, “I’m writing a book set at a ranch, let me do all my research on horses in the months preceding it.”  I use horses because I did some recent horse research for a chapter book I wrote a few months ago.  It was very minimal, as I was just refreshing myself on some terms I already knew.  In that case, it didn’t take too much time away from my writing.

But in NaNo, having to do even a little research can detract from that all-important word count, so it’s good to get it in October or before, if you know what you need.  (Let’s not forget that pantsers might not even know what they could possibly research)

This year I was planning to do a different novel from A Paranormal Bromance, and it was going to require heavy research.  I searched for books, I watched documentaries, I looked for credible information and personal accounts on the internet.  Then I changed novels, so that research will have to hold for another time. But I certainly know people who do the heavy research where they read non-fiction about most of their novels, even interview people for them.  I really admire those people and their dedication, not to mention their creativity to make a novel out of this research.

But here’s how I usually research in October.  I read fiction in the genre I’m writing or about the same subject or for the same age group.  Last year when I was writing my chapter books, I read a lot of chapter books (and low MG to see the difference) to prepare myself for writing for that reading level.

This year I’m writing that paranormal bromance.  And I haven’t decided if it’s a paranormal romance but without lust between the mains or if it’s simply a contemporary fantasy with a humorous title.  Because these are two totally different things.  Even if I go the contemporary fantasy route, I still might use some tropes from PR.  So here I am reading ghost stories (because one of the mains is a ghost).  Oh, darn, ghost stories in October.  But I’m also reading paranormal romances, which are totally not my usual thing, as research.  What tropes do I want? Do I want any? Should I have a similar tone to PRs? Is there a certain formula that I can either follow or parody? Should I stay far far away from anything PR at all?  So that’s the kind of research I’m doing now.  But that’s generally the kind of research I do the most, and no matter whether you’re a planner or a pantser, whether you’re someone who does heavy research about the subject or not, I suggest reading books like yours (or potentially like yours)

What kind of research do you do leading up to NaNo or any other books you write?  Do you do any at all?  Do you find yourself researching mid-book like I sometimes do (or even during edits)?  Have you ever wished you had researched something before you started?

Lots of love,
Sage
P.S. Less than two weeks left to enter the Trick-or-Treat Love Sucks Giveaway.  This also means less than two weeks to Halloween and NaNo!

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2 thoughts on “Researching (#NaNoPrep)

  1. Great post!

    I’m still plucking up the courage to actually DO NaNo! I tried the JuNoWriMo/Camp NaNo one, but then a great agent asked for a revise & resubmit of the novel I was querying, so JuNoWriMo didn’t happen.

    I think if I did it, though, I would probably research a lot, or at least try to. It makes things so much easier, and if a big part of your plot hinges on something that wouldn’t work/a historical anachronism, that is going to suck big time.

    • Yeah, sometimes I do regret not researching something beforehand, particularly when it hits me during edits that I got something majorly wrong. Or if a new source falls into my lap that would have been a goldmine, but that I didn’t have while writing the novel. But sometimes fear that I didn’t do enough research can stop me from taking a chance at writing the book.

      I definitely understand about NaNo plans getting interrupted by an R&R. I’m working really hard right now to get one finished in time for NaNo. 7 days, 5 hours to go.

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