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You are preparing to write your book, but your lack of factual depth is apparent. Thus, you have reached the point where you are searching for the right information to back your novel. What happened in certain periods of time? How does this machine work? What is the benefit of putting research into your story? I am going to tell you why!
Technology has always been a struggle in writing. Whether it is the process of creating new technology or describing current technology, writers always seem to have trouble conveying how it works and what it does. As a result, the technology leaves the readers confused and desperate for more explanation.
In addition to that, technology in itself also presents a challenge of being confusing if too much description is given. It certainly is a challenge for writers, but more than that, it is a balancing act. That is where research comes into play.
Proper research into technology is essential if you want to appear knowledgeable on the subject. That is why I often recommend doing some deeper research on the subject and then moving on to compare it to something common. Phrases, ‘like’ or ‘similar to’ often come into play when you are doing this. The result; the reader not only understands what your technology does and how it works, but also can see that you know what you’re talking about.
Historically accurate facts, used often in fiction set in older eras that are centred on true history and not on alternative history. When working with alternative history you are given room to make up what you wish as you go along. Any differences can then be chalked up to it being a part of the alternative world that you have created.
Moving from this, if you wish to set your story in a certain period of time and wish to remain historically accurate, you will need to do some deeper research, much like researching technology. For example, where Tom Clancy has been accurate in writing about technology, J. G. Ballard was historically accurate in the writing of his story, Empire of the Sun.
It is for these reasons that you can use historical facts to not only immerse your reader, but enlighten them on some concepts of history they weren’t previously knowledgeable on or perhaps even heard of. A lot of this writing will add to your reputation if you intend to write several books that are based on historically accurate settings. On top of that, your book stands among the few that are well-researched and believable.
3. Culture and Religion
Culture certainly plays a part if you intend on including certain races and types of people. Religion then plays a part in this work as well. Certain cultures have their ‘dos and don’ts’, so if you make a mistake and write something that doesn’t fit that culture, it will leave someone who is well-versed in such culture questioning your knowledge.
Such mistakes are not only embarrassing, but they jeopardise the inevitability of your novel. Nothing immerses a reader more than attention given to such details and in addition, it builds the world for your reader. Different cultures and religions are fascinating, so use your knowledge to not only set the scene, but teach the reader something new and wonderful.
In today's age, attention to culture and religion is intense and often harsh if assumptions or mistakes are made. Even in alternative reality, certain tropes can be offensive to certain people. Additional research into what works today, if you plan on writing something controversial, can be a real boon. Of course, that only depends on whether you mind stepped on certain peoples toes.
Not everyone in the world speaks the same language. Although English has grown to become the world's largest language, writers will continue to bring in characters that speak another language. However, they often make the decision to write the character without dialogue.
There is nothing wrong about not including dialogue when the character doesn’t speak English. However, by including a second language you not only impress your reader with your knowledge, but you might impress a reader who does speak that language.
I myself have experienced it in writing and no doubt many others where an author does the additional research and includes dialogue that you can still understand. Small details like that are not necessary, but adding them only improves the book in the sense of building the world.
Of course, I don’t recommend going to Google translate for these decisions. Dialogue in a language you don’t understand is a difficult task and if done incorrectly, it will be a let down for a reader who knows the language. If you wish to take the extra step, ensure that what you write is correct before publishing.
5. Your Own Books
You have seen it before. Authors stating things later in a series only to contradict what they said earlier in the series. If you intend to write a series of novels you need to note everything that you have written that will be brought up later. Forgetting certain details that the reader remembers can result in a fault later in your novels.
If the mistake is large enough, it could cripple the plot. If it is a small mistake, nobody will really care as it doesn’t directly affect the plot. Now, not every writer should be writing a guide book containing every fact they created in the series so far, but have things vague enough to make adjustments later should help you avoid any such mistakes.
That is the final point in this list. Keeping track of your own story is essential if you plan on connecting your novels or making a series. Build a world for your reader, don’t destroy the past to fit your current agenda. Otherwise, it all crumbles. Maintaining that magic will surely keep the series thriving.
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