Whether you are writing contemporary novels, historical novels, or short stories, at some point you will realize that you have to do some research to get correct information. If you don’t, intelligent readers will be likely to disrespect your work.
You’ll notice that a lot of writers set their novels in places they either live in or have lived in. This may seem provincial, but in fact, it makes for good writing. If we know a place well, we can create a realistic setting, an intriguing background for our novels. Setting is one of the important components of any piece of fiction—plays, short stories or novels. For example, my latest novel, a contemporary mystery entitled THE INHERITANCE, begins in
, a city I know very well. Manhattan
My mystery series, featuring amateur sleuth Kim Reynolds, librarian, is set in
. These novels: THE INFERNO COLLECTION,
THE DROWNING POOL, THE TRUTH SLEUTH and THE BAD WIFE are all set in New Jersey Central New Jersey
where I lived for forty years.
However, every work of fiction requires a certain amount of research, some more than others. I believe the best fiction combines elements of what we actually know with research into what we need to find out. I’m no fan of info dumping in fiction, but writers need to read and discover a lot more information than they will actually use in their writing. It’s a delicate balance.
I was reminded of this when I received a recent rejection for a science fiction short story I had carefully researched. The editor said that while liking the writing and the premise I had included too much information that was unnecessary to the story. I read the story over with that in mind and realized the editor was correct. Although I was fascinated by all I had discovered about dark matter in the universe, it simply wasn’t necessary to the story and hurt the focus. So I rewrote and then submitted to another publication.
On a more positive note, a literary short story I wrote inspired by and based on fact was just published in
NEW ZENITH MAGAZINE both in print and ebook editions:
What is your opinion? Do you prefer reading and/or writing contemporary fiction, historic fiction, or possibly speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction or horror) which creates imaginary worlds? What best suits your tastes?