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#Fantasy Author Joshua Silverman on Writing Fiction & Research @jg_silverman #writetip

One of the most overlooked areas of writing fiction is research. Most writers I’ve come across don’t think of themselves as “researchers”. They just want to tell the best story they can. And that’s admirable, but I believe that to make a story convincing it has to be realistic. To be realistic, it has to be researched. Here are some things that I’ve found in other people’s books which a simple internet search could have avoided.
  1. A man hears a shot from a gun then sees the victim fall. The author should have known most modern day ammunition travels twice the speed of sound so the action would have happened in reverse. The man would have fallen and then the witness would have heard the gunshot.
  2. If you’re writing about the military or soldiers, do not confuse military ranks. The US Army has no rank called “Admiral” and the Navy does not have “Generals.” It’s a five minute Google search to figure this one out.
  3. If you’re writing any type of historical fiction, you better do some serious research. Don’t say George Washington pulled out his iPhone to Google Map the road to Trenton if cell phones didn’t exist in the 1700’s!
  4. If you’re doing any type of setting or environment work. Don’t tell me about the earthquakes in Florida because Florida doesn’t have earthquakes, they have hurricanes. You should know the weather patterns of your environment, the produce, the politics, the immigration, you should know everything.
  5. Don’t write a book about robots and androids without researching cybernetics! Readers are smart, we’ll know.
  6. If you’re writing suspense/murder mystery then you should know a lot about police procedures and the legal system. Don’t tell me the CSI guys do the interviews like on one show I know but they don’t in real life.
  7. Don’t tell me your horse galloped 200 miles in a day. Your horse would be dead.
  8. If you’re writing a sci-fi novel about time travel, you better damn well research quantum physics and current time travel theories because it can get very confusing.
These are just some examples. But I want to stress balance. A writer can spend quite literally years in research if they want. At that time, it might be an exercise in procrastination rather than writing.
I believe in a one to one ratio. For every hour or writing, you probably needed to do an hour of research. Since the Emerald Tablet is based in Greek and Egyptian mythology and culture, I read over 20 non-fiction history books and spent countless hours trying to capture the feel of these ancient societies. Even so, it was easy for me to say “I need to do more research”. Even today, as I’m writing book 3, I’m still researching. Don’t go overboard but make it realistic and believable for your readers. They’ll appreciate it and get lost in the story.
The ancient powers lost to Potara have returned. The Brotherhood of the Black Rose rises to bring Thoth into disorder. And, while the Brotherhood reclaims their power, chaos reigns among the survivors. Six individuals have emerged from the aftermath struggling for control over their lives and a divided land. Kem and Shirin, who abolished the five thousand year reign of the Amun Priests, rule from the golden throne of the Oracle’s Chair in the Hall of the Nine. Dio and Axios struggle to piece together a resistance worthy to challenge the ancient magic which resides in the Great Temple of Amun, and Leoros and Atlantia try to remain true to their hearts and their cause despite tragedy.
But when the Book of Breathings is discovered, the path to immortality is revealed. Leoros and Kem race to capture the Soul of the World unaware of the challenges awaiting them. This time, the gods themselves will intervene.
In a tale where boys become men and girls become women, where treachery and deception are around every corner, and where primeval mysticism finds its way back from the grave, victory is reserved for neither the good nor the evil, but the powerful.
Buy Here
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
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