When Research Gets In The Way!

Research should be two things:

A/ accurate; names, dates etc need to be right!

B/ invisible; your reader should never be ever be treated to a lecture on any one topic, however brief and however much you really want to use that information you spent three weeks reading up on.

card 006Setting my crime novels in the 1940’s has meant a huge amount of research. Not only in reading around the subject for verisimilitude but fact checking dates and historical events.

Research is time consuming (though as I also enjoy it I see that as a plus).

I am always aware that getting the facts right is essential, because there will always be somebody out there who just ‘knows’ that X did not happen until May 1940, or Y was not rationed until June 1941. And be more than happy to tell you and everyone else about it.

In our writing group we call this the  “And I think you’ll find…” moment (accompanied by the tying of an imaginary anorak hood beneath the chin)!

Writing and researching book #2, and several chapters in I have realised why I am not progressing as fast as I would like or expect. For a variety of reasons #2 must follow book #1 chronologically – and no matter how I try to bludgeon it into place – the research simply will not match the plot!

So here is my choice. Bin #2 as is and come up with a different story line – or rejig #1 to come 2 years earlier knowing that a massive rewriting will ensue. Either way it means a lot of extra work, so the effort involved is not a factor. But bearing in mind that book #1 is scheduled for release later this year…  decisions, decisions!


  1. Even for the casual non-writer/blogger like myself fact checking is a way of life. I would think when you write a fiction book you want references to real events to be historically accurate but isn’t there some leeway, it is fiction. Of course without a foundation of truth any story/posting is just brain candy.


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