Tuesday, October 11, 2011


One of the characters in my new wip develops a medical condition that I needed to research. Fortunately, I work in a hospital with three of the greatest doctors I’ve ever met, so I don’t have to only go by what I find on the internet.

Doing research is always fun, well, most times. I like learning new things, but research for novels seems different to me. It can sometimes shape the way a story is told. While gathering information on this medical condition, (Atrial Fibrillation), I’ve had to go back and add minor things to the story, like the way my character reacts, physically and emotionally to strenuous activity. And learning about this condition has helped me fine tune the ending.

The one thing I’ve discovered about doing research for novels is that I usually have far more information than I’ll ever need. I’d rather have it that way then the other way around. Still, having more than needed is good for back story. Just recently, I had to research, “How to cook a possum,” for this wip. Let’s just say, it was SCARY!

How much research do you do when crafting a novel? And do you trust what you find on the internet?


Tere Kirkland said...


And while I don't necessarily trust the internet, I do use it as a jumping off point. Plus, I have access to jstor.org articles through work.

Actually, I get a lot of ideas for stories while I'm doing the research. My wip is an alternate history, so I've been doing lots of research on the setting, the time period, the politics, etc. All so I can figure out what to keep, and what I want to change. It's pretty cool. :)

Karen Denise said...

Cool! What's jstor.org? I'm going to check them out. I've pretty much got the medical research down, where I don't have to rely on the internet, but everything else is a mix between the net and the library. For the hillbillies in my book, I talked to my father-lol.

Charlie Rice said...

Hey Karen, Having a day gig that keeps me busy, researching on the internet is pretty much it. My current WIP takes place in a brutal Maine winter. I searched exactly how deep the snow really gets, the local wildlife, and the behavior of black bears. Researching an actual black bear attack is something I'd like to avoid. :)

Karen Denise said...

Yeah, Charlie, I think I'd avoid the up close and personal research with black bear attacks too-lol. Whenever I'm researching a place--for example one of my stories takes place in Kenai Alaska--I always feel like I'm not quite getting it right because I've never been there. But I guess that's where imagination come in to play!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

How lucky you are to have available doctors for research. I guess you know about Medical Mondays on Lydia Kang's blog--it is so cool that she helps writers that way. I actually got a lot of help from her on one of my stories. The internet is great but can only take you so far, I think.

Karen Denise said...

Wow! I hadn't heard of the Medical Monday's. I'll definitely go check that out. Thanks, Tricia!