Friday Tip: Do Your Research
“Write what you know” is often taken literally, but it can also be interpreted to mean that you should have a clear understanding of the world in which your story takes place, as well as who your characters are at their core.
If you don't know that? Explore it. 👇🏻
If your story takes place within a world you’ve imagined, then you should have a clear idea of how that world functions. There are plenty of thought-provoking prompts online to help you get that clear picture.
ℹ Check this out this list of questions from the SFWA.
If it’s our world, but somewhere you’ve never been, then undergo research to make sure you’re grasping nuances of that place—not its Hollywood depictions, but real customs, people, food. Read books. Study maps. Go there if you can.
Most important? Talk to people! 🗣
Ask what they love (and maybe don't love) about the place. Ask about its lore. Ask about its history and what it's known for. Ask about the types of people who live there and how they feel about tourists/outsiders. Ask where the locals go versus the tourists, etc.
The same is true when it comes to your characters. If your character is undergoing something that you yourself has never gone through, then research—find out more about how people experience, react to, and live through whatever it is. Read books, interview, etc.
The bottom line: If you don’t know something that you need to make your story come to life, then do the research and exploration until you know it as best you can.
Will all of this make it in your novel? No! But the more confidence you have in what you're writing, the more your reader will (hopefully) feel grounded in your story.
❓ Tell me: What research have you done for your fiction? When do you feel you "know" what you need to know?