January 23, 2011

Research Your Book!

Shannon Leigh the Author of 'Chasing Booty' Gives Tips on How to Resesarch Your Book!

I don't know how other writers go about building their settings and characters, but one thing I've learned from my own experience is it takes a lot of research. You not only have to make your characters into people the reader wants to read about, you also have to make their setting fit their story and be believable. It all has to jive. Of course, with some genres, such as science-fiction, there's a little more room for play. If your setting is 5000 years into the future, who can argue with you if your books has cars that fold up into briefcases and robots built for pleasure?

With each book I've written, I've learned more and more about the importance of research, even in my science fiction story Chasing Booty.

When cops can’t catch the most wanted criminals, they hire Gaelyn. She thrives on adventure. Only one other hunter matches her status, Reese, a Trøndite from the small planet of Sør-Trøndalag. The man had a knack for stealing her contracts. While chasing her latest mark, she runs into Reese on Quaoar. He not only has the information she needs to catch the bad guy, he’s got a business proposal that’s too tempting to pass up.  A partnership with Reese just might prove rewarding in a way she never expects.

I didn't know a thing about spaceships or the solar system, but they were pertinent to my storyline so I had to do some pretty extensive research on both. What I ended up with was enough information to make the setting believable and give my characters the world they were made for.

I had a reader ask me, "How do you know so much about the solar system? I was amazed at the detail."

I had to chuckle. I really don't know that much about it, but I made sure that what I wrote was accurate and detailed enough that the reader thought I did.

In my two stories Lycan Lore and Lycan Lore 2: Offspring, I had to do separate research for both. Even though the second continued the series, it was in a completely different setting, Miami Beach, which I knew very little about save it's where I'd much rather be right now instead of freezing my buns off in Indiana!

Cassandra didn't believe in werewolves, not until she finds herself running for her life with a fur-sprouting, fang-wielding, moon-constrained juggernaut from Hell intending to have her for dinner. Much to her chagrin, her savior comes in the same form. Only, unlike his bloodthirsty counterpart, Cray can control his form. Before he can claim her as his one true mate, the wolf that hunts Cassandra has to be stopped, for once a lycan scents its prey, it’ll never relinquish its quest to complete the kill. Runing from a werewolf hunter determined to kill her and her unborn child, Heather flees to the shores of South Beach, right into the arms of a man who could prove more than a one-night stand. Despite his own lycan heritage, Cray has taken a vow to protect humanity from his kind. With a new lead on his target, he plans on hunting her down. Cassandra knows what her best friend has become, but refuses to accept Heather’s fate. If she hopes to save her, she must find a way to protect her from her own mate.

Where can you research? Books are okay, but who has room to keep books on every imaginable subject? For me, the internet is my best friend. Of course--depending upon your research topic--you have to be careful about the information you find as some of it may not exactly be creditable.

In my book Erotikos, I had an Indian (which required some pretty extensive research on my part), a vampire (I could wing that one), and a selkie (research again).

Its girl’s night in, three horny women and an evening of drinking and gossip.  Mina has brought Erotikos, a strange game that promises to fulfill their every sexual desire with their choice of eight gorgeous men.  With a simple roll of the dice, they’ll embark on a series of adventures where reality ceases and fantasy begins.

Let's say you want to write a story about selkies. Okay, you've never written about these mystical creatures before and know very little. If you type "selkie" into your browser search box...

Viola! You're likely going to get several link options, many of which will go to personal websites. One site in particular that I like is Wikipedia. You can find a wealth of information there, as well as links to other topics that relate to your search topic.

Whatever you choose to write about, don't forget that research is a pertinent part of the writing process. Paying attention to tiny details (the food they eat, the clothes they wear, physical places/objects in their surrounding) will make your stories believable and more enjoyable for the reader. A well written, detail oriented book is bound to make you a rememberable author, and is likely to create a list of readers that can't wait for your next story.


Shannon Leigh
Amber Quill Assistant Review Coordinator

"Giving readers the O in their erOtica."

Website: http://shannonleigh.org

Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Shannon_Leigh_Newsletter/

*Nana's Little Black Book--calling all incubi*
*Chasing Booty--the payoff is too good to pass up.*
*Dark Tales--not your average bedtime story.*

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