Is researching necessary for the completion of a good story? Yes! But I guess the genre one writes largely dictates how deeply that research has to be. Along with the level of knowledge a writer has about any particular subject. Some writers may avoid researching prior to or during their writing. Others may spend a huge time perfecting the knowledge they wish to share.
I admit to being lazy regarding research. The need isn’t so great because I write contemporary. I look about me and what I see is what I write about. Okay, that works well for settings, but what about everything else making up the story. It’s so important to be accurate. A reader is put off so easily if the information is incorrect.
One Writer’s Mistake
Years ago a glaring mistake in a Mills and Boon book stopped me from finishing it. The publisher had an arrangement with the English Rugby Union to use rugby players as heroes in a series of stories. Great idea. I’ve used rugby players as my heroes and I know other New Zealand authors who have done the same. This particular author did no research. Neither her nor the editorial staff who prepared that book for publication had any clue about rugby. Even in a category romance, researching a little of a character’s livelihood seems vital to me. Especially if contributing to a series on these heroes. Telling her readers that her hero’s team won a match one nil might have meant nothing to many, but to a rugby fanatic like myself, this lack of interest aka research, blew her credibility. For those not acquainted with the greatest game ever, the lowest score achievable in rugby is three points.
Some research is vital. I hope I never get caught out by a reader. Although I accept it may happen if I slip up. Due diligence is needed even in light reading, eg. a romance story. Time is valuable and why should we expect a reader to spent time reading any incorrect detail? Taking time to research where our own knowledge is not strong is important. A reader, a geriatric nurse, once told me my research into Alzheimer’s disease for “Leath’s Legacy” was bang on. I was thrilled.
I use friends and fellow readers as guides to ensure my research is adequate as I complete a story. Its not only the plot and the romance that needs to flow. Everything must be believeable. I’d never suggest my writing is error free, but I do try to ensure the content is correct.