How much research do you need to do in order to make your stories believable? Granted, as writers we don’t have to actually experience everything we put our characters through. Events, places, facts, concrete things can be found on the internet, in books, at the library, etc. But how do we get the emotion to come through?

I’m pretty good at empathizing with a character even if I haven’t lived a certain situation. However, could I take it one step further? Could I better connect with the reader, and/or those that might have lived through a similar situation?

When you have an emotional scene (not sexual), do you to talk to someone that has lived through what you’re writing about? Do you contact an agency that deals with a particular issue, such as deafness or abuse? Do you have a secret way of getting the needed emotions on the page that sucks the reader in and makes them cry right alongside you? Cough it up, y’all. I’d really like to know.


6 thoughts on “Researching

  1. Fortunately or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, I have a well of emotion to use. But I think you could tap into something that caused a similar emotion, even if it isn’t exactly the same scenerio. You could magnify it or tone it down to whatever your needs are.

    Say, if you need sorrow, think about someone or something you’ve lost that meant a lot to you. Then you could apply it to your writing.

    This is why writing is such an personal thing and why our creations are our babies.

    • You hit the nail on the head, Ash. Take one of your own emotions and project it to what you need it to be for your story. Gotcha’! Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it.

  2. Linda,

    I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this one. Sometimes I think I gravitate toward futuristic stuff just to avoid actually doing research. Of course, finding out the futuristic science stuff generally gives me ideas to use in the science fiction… one follows the other. But I’m not really a researcher.

    I have certainly tapped into other people’s experiences so I could write more realistically. Recently, I finished a contemporary that had a laser tag scene in it. I polled all my family members and found three that had played laser tag… then I made them cough up the details. Of course, I could have just gone and played myself… but what’s the fun in that? spw

  3. My comment from yesterday was lost again! %^&* Internet.

    I think an awful lot can be covered through empathy and sympathy, but, taking deafness as an example, since you brought it up, there are times when you really need to do intensive research or (better) talk to someone who is deaf. I’ve got a great imagination, but I’m sure there are adjustments and accommodations they have to make that I know nothing about.

    Internet research can often do the job, but sometimes you really need a face-to-face.

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