Great books come from great research. Before the internet, authors had to research their novels for one to two years doing a lot of thumbing through library material and other written material. Reading through Robert Ludlum’s earlier Bourne series, you can see serious research has gone into the book including travelling and numerous expert opinions. The internet through Google and YouTube, has made researching much simpler. However, it has not eliminated the need for well-researched work that can pass close inspection by savvy readers. How can you research well for your book for credible and captivating work?
Go back to the basics
You should always read a lot on what you are writing about. Books that are in the same genre can give much inspiration for characters and events. For example, if you are writing a child fantasy book, works by JRR Tolkien would give you much to draw on. Some say that you should not attempt to write until you have read at least 100 books!
Watching movies and documentaries is also very useful. Many authors writing thrillers will draw their inspiration from what they see on TV. If you are doing a spy thriller, it would not hurt to watch the Bond series to craft your villain.
Talk to experts
If you are doing a detective thriller, it would be hard to draw all your material from watching CSI alone. You would need to know what forms are filled where and when and all other small procedures involved. This can only be done by talking to a real life detective. An expert will also help you correct assumptions that could seem insignificant but which are highly erroneous.
While Google Maps have made finding anywhere on the Earth pretty easily, nothing beats being on the ground listening to the sounds and seeing the sights of locations you are writing about. If you are writing on Dubai, no YouTube videos would bring out the smells and sounds of the Old Gold Souk. You simply have to witness the culture and landscapes to write in detail about them.
Travelling could also give you a tangent to work on. You will be lucky to catch on local folk tales, legends and other interesting tidbits you can use to flesh up your book.
Learn to Google
There is more to extracting data from Google than visiting all the links on the first page. Google can be instructed to fetch data more discretely by a series of special commands and characters called dorking. Ask the local techie to show you or Google it.
A well-researched novel will appear captivating and credible to your audience by bringing out more believable characters, places and events. There is no substitute for good research.