I love historical fiction. I’m writing a historical fiction novel. And that means research. And believe me, the research phase doesn’t just apply to the historical fiction genre.
My novel Clemency takes place during the French Revolution and centers around a girl named Danaé Thayer who is a journalist. Right from the first sentence of the novel her interest in the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is made clear and it’s something that comes up a lot. In school, I’ve learned about Rousseau and his The Social Contract so I knew a little bit about it already. That was enough to save me for a few chapters. And so I bought a copy of the book for $2.99 at the used bookstore down the street from my house. And believe me, just a little bit of reading on Rousseau’s philosophies helped me a lot. Not only did it help me understand what my character is fighting for but it also helped me understand my character more.
Research doesn’t have to be extreme. In fact, it’s probably best if it’s not. Some people get so stuck on the research phase and never get to the writing which is no good. All it takes is a little bit of research. Your MC’s a master swordsman? Maybe you should do a little bit of research on terms used by swordsmen. You’re writing a story in the past? Maybe check up on their etiquette and grammar rules.
Just make sure that you’re knowledgeable on whatever you’re writing and you should be good!