Friday, September 27, 2013

Guest Post: Top Five Research Tips & Gift Card Giveaway

Today I am thrilled to present you with a guest post by Author Dani Pettrey as part of the Stranded Tour going on right now!

Be sure to read all of her awesome research tips, then check out her romantic suspense novel: Stranded!


Top Five Research Tips

Whether you write historical or contemporary, research is always required. I love learning about my settings and have found these five tips to be particularly helpful: 

1.Pick a handful of the best
It’s impossible to read every book on every subject or location you’re looking for. There is simply not enough time if you want to get on with actually writing the story so I pick my favorites, limiting myself to no more than five. These are the books that I purchase.

2.Take notes
I always take notes while reading research books. Otherwise, even if I’ve highlighted a passage, it takes way to long to remember where a particular passage or fact was located. By skimming my notes, I’m able to quickly pick up on key words and find the reference I was looking for.

3.Pictures are worth a thousand words
 We need to not only read about our location, but to see it. If we can’t afford the research trip there, then we have to find other ways to see the landscape and the people. Watch movies, shows or documentaries about the area or those filmed on location there. It’s a great way to get a feel for the place. I usually sit down and make a night of it. Popcorn comes in handy.

4.Invest the time online
There is a wealth of information available right at your fingertips.  Look up everything that pertains to your story. You can find travel times, weather reports, news articles, even local school closings. It is absolutely amazing the amount of information available if you’re willing to put in the time.

5.Talk to locals
Most visitors’ bureaus are more than happy to answer questions, but definitely go deeper than this. For example, if your hero is a charter pilot, contact a charter pilot service in the area. See if one of the pilots would be happy to answer questions. You’ll find more often than not that they are happy to help.

I hope these tips will help you as you research your next location. 

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