If you are just starting out in novel writing, you should know that at a point, mostly in the outlining stage, you will need to carry out research for the novel. Research is a vital aspect of the writing process and is essential if you want to become an A-List novelist at some point. Research encompasses different areas of life depending on the plot of the novel, its characters and the setting.
Research helps you in the plot development for your novel. The deeper and more exhaustive your research on the issue, the better your understanding of plot initiation, development and conclusion. Remember that everything within the novel is written to develop the plot and as such, any research that you carry out will at the end of the day, contribute to the development of the plot.
Your novel has to hold some relevance. Be it thematic or just entertainment, the novel has to have some appeal to the reader. If for instance, you are writing on slavery, you have to drive the story home in the most relevant way possible. If your facts are all out of place on the other hand, the story will be insulting and probably repulsive, in the least.
During the research process, always keep an open mind. This is because you might get the opportunity to derive inspiration from your research material. If for instance, you have to visit a certain location, you stand a great chance to learn from the people within the location and use that in your advantage, to develop your plot.
Broadening your knowledge
Even though your work may be fictional, it should still have factual knowledge as its basis. As a result, your novel is only as good as the knowledge you have on the issues you are writing on. Research can help broaden your knowledge and grow it in such a way that you not only have a deeper understanding but also more aggressive content.
Growing a character is perhaps the most complex duty for a novelist. The character holds the entire plot together and if the development of the character is not conclusive, it could be damaging to the plot. Research can help you in character development by giving you insights on issues you did not know or had little knowledge in. For instance, an interview with a judge can help you better understand the life of your character, societal biases and such issues that pull together to develop the character for who she/he is.
What are your thoughts? How do you do your research? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you.