‘Write what you know.’ We have all heard that statement in one context or another, but what does it mean? This is actually a beast that raises its head periodically, in many different guises, at Indies Unlimited. The ‘Get it right’ posts are just one guise; I think all of the staff and several guests have done at least one piece on the subject. ‘Get the fight right!’ was my contribution (write what you know, right?). However, it all comes down to the same thing; you have to know what you are writing about or risk being labelled unprofessional. Do The Research.
I was being interviewed on an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio program last year and one of the questions put to me was, “So, being an historical fiction based on fact, I suppose you would have had to do some research for ‘Terra Nullius’; as apposed to, say, your usual genres of memoir or pure fiction?” The assumption being that the ‘memoirs’ came straight out of my memory, and the ‘fiction’ came straight out of my imagination.
“Research plays a major part in the writing of any book,” I said. “Even fantasy requires the writer to get some general facts and rules straight; they may actually conduct considerable research on certain aspects, giving their story credibility. Some in-depth, researched facts can do wonders to suspend a reader’s disbelief, regardless of genre.” Continue reading “Yes, Fiction Writers Do Research”