Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Researching the Story

First, my apologies for not posting on my assigned day, but my dad had some issues after his hip surgery and he was in the emergency room on Monday--the day I was supposed to post. But he's on the road to recovery now and life returns to normal...whatever that is!

But I guess normal for me includes writing. And no writing is worth publishing without research. If a book is poorly researched, readers will know. And they most likely won’t buy the author’s next book.

Good research is especially important when writing an historical. And while every reader isn’t going to know that a noble bastard cannot inherit the title even if the nobleman adopts him, a devout historical reader will. And that reader will tell anyone who’ll listen that the author was "ignorant" of certain historical facts.

But it’s not just historical writers who need to do their homework. World building is an integral part of writing a good paranormal or urban fantasy romance. And world building requires research.
When I wrote Out of the Darkness,I wanted an explanation for vampirism. Although, I got the original idea from reading Dean Koontz and watching Universal Soldier, I needed to research vampires and vampire origins.

I wanted a believable plot despite the unbelievable nature of the story. And although the science in the story is fictional, the basis for my "pseudo" science is real. Besides my old science text books from college, I spent hours on the “net” researching vampires, viruses, and xeroderma pigmentosum. And I got lost in the vampire legends.

Experiencing locations first hand and taking pictures is another way I like to research. And while I couldn’t afford to go to Transylvania or Bosnia while writing Out of the Darkness, I visited Portsmouth Island, located on North Core Banks in North Carolina while writing my historical, Slightly Tarnished.

Core Banks is one of North Carolina’s barrier islands. Cape Lookout is on South Core Banks. And far on the other end—the north end of the island—is Portsmouth Village.

The island was established as a colony in 1753 and Portsmouth Village was settled soon after. Several hurricanes and the changing economy after the Civil War took its toll and residents began leaving the island. The last permanent residents left the island in 1971, and it’s now part of the National Park Service and the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
As a writer, I wish I could visit every location where I set a story. But since I can’t, I’ll have to contend with reading travel books and researching various locations on the internet.


  1. Sorry to hear about your father, Lilly. You're so right about the importance of research, no matter the genre.

  2. Sorry to hear about your father, Lilly. You're so right about the importance of research, no matter the genre.

  3. Thanks, Emma. Dad's doing much better now. And I'm heading to Germany this spring so there'll be plenty of opportunities to research story ideas. I can't wait!