5 Reasons Historical Fiction Authors Should Research

Research is one of the most important parts of writing historical fiction but it also takes the most time. My second novel in the Brody series, The Devil’s Trap, is set in 1881.

That’s why I found a trapping expert and learned everything I could. I’m not a trapper and I don’t trap but now I can write about it.


Why should authors research? 

5. When authors do their research it gives their novel a more professional and real life feel. How can they describe Hoars Frost, if they’ve never been out in the woods and seen it?

4. It provides opportunity for better description and detail in the novel, things the author wouldn’t have thought of. Describing a catfish is easy enough but many authors wouldn’t think of describing the sound associated with catfish, unless they had gone fishing in the name of research. They make a grunting, croaking type of sound and that little bit of knowledge adds more detail the author probably hadn’t considered.

3. Hands-on research educates the author and gives him fodder for other works or story ideas. The more you learn about something, the easier it is to write about it. While researching, authors sometimes come up with other story ideas and since they’ve already done the leg-work, it makes their job much simpler for a second project.

2. It keeps the reader committed-especially professionals. I read a story once that had the villain shocking someone with nothing but a car battery and some wires. I worked in car electronics for years and knew the author didn’t do their research. It removed me from the story and I had trouble enjoying the rest of the novel.

1. Keeping the facts as straight as possible, gives the novel a chance of being used in the classroom. If authors are relaxed about their research, then educators will have to cherry pick what their students should take note of. This becomes extra work for teachers and can cause confusion for the students.

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