When creating a story, researching certain components can make the world of difference in your story and how your audience enjoys it. I can’t tell you how many times my ex-military father would squirm and mumble under his breath in his seat at the movie theater watching a military-oriented movie. That’s because a director didn't do his homework, researching real-life military weapons & how they work.
It is your duty as a writer to make sure your story is structurally sound. Having a strong backbone of proper research will make your story have a complete 360.
When does your story happen? The 1980’s? The Medieval times? Does it happen in Europe, Australia, or even China? If your story happens in a certain country, you should do research on architecture, cultural parties and events, how the people act; everything! Determine the place of action in your story early on, then begin doing your research! Doing so will make your readers feel like they’re right in the story with your character.
If your story is Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Action; you may want to type in “science theories, mythology, guns & weapons” in your search engine. If in your research, you find a cool science theory, you could base your whole Sci-Fi story about how your character made it work. Or, you could have a decent understanding of the guns and weapons your characters use in your Action story. Make sense? That way, you can go deep into detail in explaining and describing everything so your readers can see it in their minds too.
You may have to research things you don’t want to. For example, you may have to read about Chinese cultural patters or buildings. That may not tickle your fancy, but that will make all the world of difference in your story.
What if your story happens during the 1940’s or the Medieval times? Search online or buy books to help you research what it was like to live during that time. Try to figure out what they wore, what they talked like…research everything down to what they eat. You want your readers to feel like they've traveled back in time. You don’t want to have an accident where you write your Medieval character getting in the shower in the morning. Oops!
Sounds completely ridiculous, but we’re in a different era and it’s hard to envision something any different. Plus, we’re so used to something, we just take it for granted and kind of face palm in instances like this. It’s easy to overlook things like this, but it creates a massive hole in your writing.
Just to give you a clear picture in your head, I’m going to give you an example text…
“The secret agent, Bowie, slammed shut the door of his black Mercedes. His shades blocked the rage from behind his icy, cold blue eyes. He broke through the inside of a building with people and they were frightened.”
You see, I have my lovely character Bowie so masterfully characterized, but as soon as he gets to the point where he has to interact with his environment, he falls flat. Why? Because, I didn't do my research about the place he is going. Poor research skills not only affect the plot, but also your characters. I did some research on the place Bowie is, so let’s see how it changed.
“The secret agent, Bowie, slammed shut the door of his black Mercedes. His shades blocked the rage from behind his icy, cold blue eyes. Bowie turned the corner of Hollywood Boulevard. He broke through the inside of a building with towering points that touched the skies. The lights waved and stretched through the skies as many people flocked to the building, dressed like stars going to the grand opening of a movie. The women in the building shrieked and all covered their white painted faces with their fans. They fled to the safety of the corner of the room. A man dressed in a suit started screaming at Bowie and waving a gun.”
You see the difference? Bowie is now fully alive in an environment that you were better able to understand because of your research. You were able to understand that Bowie was in Hollywood & that he was breaking into a theater; but not any theater. But, then Grauman's Chinese Theater, because of the beautiful, towering Chinese architecture as well by the fact that female actors had white paint on their faces.
Not only does Bowie stand out with the environment, but the environment makes the plot so much more enjoyable. The readers can envision exactly what you are trying to say, now that you did your research.
Let me give you more examples. You know the feeling you get when you’re watching a movie, then all the sudden, something completely ridiculous & unrealistic happens? That’s because the director, yet again, didn't do their homework. Your face may scrunch up and you say, “That wouldn't happen”. Well, you’re probably right.
Keep those things in mind. Sure, a massive explosion is entertaining, but it is completely unrealistic which hurts the plot & leaves your readers skeptical about your writing.
Research is a critical component to avoid glaring flaws like that. Something like that may spare you if you’re writing a military or action adventure type story.
Just remember writers… Research is a critical component to your story. It will emphasize your lovely characters as well as make your story candy for your readers to imagine. Proper research will add body to your story, as well as make it believable. The readers will be able to see right off the bat that you did your homework.