So we all do this, myself included. We just write and then stop not knowing where to go. You think maybe I’ll research this, or I wonder what that part of the weapon is called. I literally stopped my writing to go look up what the components to a broadsword were. Therefore, speaking from my own experience I want to tell you that the majority of your research should occur in the plotting and planning stage before any actual writing takes place, as well as in the interval between writing chapters or scenes.
The way that I used to work is that I would go wherever the writing took me, I would research new elements popped up. This usually meant that I wrote less, procrastinated more and stopped too many times to count. It really stunted my progress and made me loose all motivation for my story. Hence, I have a whole folder of stories that I have started but not finished.
From this I learnt that you should not research as you go, unless you absolutely have to. It is forgiven if you realized as you are writing that you should have researched something but it didn’t come to mind at the time. However, all the integral elements of the story you should already know. For instance, if your characters live in a castle, you should already know the in’s and out’s of a castle lay out. You should know exactly the way your castle looks, what is on each floor and where each characters bedroom lies, among other things. You should have this summarized in a document along with matching pictures and preferably have it printed out within easy reach as you are typing for quick reference.
I know that this is a mammoth task and can be quite daunting to think that you must have all of this done before you write words. You might be thinking that this may stifle your creativity, but let me put it to you in this way- the more you research, the more you learn, the more you know and the inspiration grows. From the research you do now, you will gain more ideas and charge through your writing better than before. So, put in the hard work early and reap the rewards later when you power through your book.
I cannot say that this is a miracle cure to writer’s block, because it isn’t. Sometimes, the brain doesn’t want to work and that’s fine because we ask it to do a lot. But it works when it matters the most and saves you time in the long run.
- You are learning! There is never a negative to expanding your mind.
- You will be inspired the more you learn about a subject.
- You are adding information to your memory to recall now and for books in the future.
- You will learn new ways to research, to help you in the future.
- You will know your story’s world, the characters and complexities better.
- It will create depth in your writing even if the readers never know certain aspects of your world. They are there in the background.
- You will learn things about your world, which you didn’t even know.
- You will have a deeper level of understanding about your story and may be able to connect dots and deepen the plot.
- It will clarify your vision for the story and its direction.
- It will let you power through your writing.
- You will stop less and write more.
- Saves time in the long run.
- Helps you create a better first draft (not that first drafts are ever great) but will help decrease the workload for the second draft.
Let me know what you think of this technique and if you use it yourself? What do you do to combat writer’s block?