At the meeting of our local authors’ group, we discussed fiction writing research. One of the biggest challenges for all of us was keeping our research materials organized, and becoming productive.
Fiction writing research tips to help an author’s productivity
The web means that all the information any author might need is close at hand. Unfortunately, the wealth of information can lead to complacency. Not only that, finding trustworthy sources is as difficult as it has always been.
Once you’ve collected your information, there are more challenges:
- Collating what you’ve gathered;
- Cross-referencing the materials;
- Citing your sources (for authors who include bibliographies);
- Organization: finding what you need, when you need it.
The following three tips were useful to me, so I made a note of them, because they may help you too.
1. Use mind maps for a quick overview of your research
Do you use mind maps? I use them for my writing, but haven’t considered how useful they would be in research. I’ve begun creating research mind maps for my current research, adding links to documents so that I can open and reference a resource quickly.
2. Electronic notes and highlights: file in Evernote
The highlights feature in the Kindle app is brilliant. You can highlight text in various colors, as well as adding notes, and copying material.
Consider using an app like Evernote to consolidate your materials in topics. I have several Research notebooks in Evernote; I copy highlights directly into the relevant notebook.
3. Save time: write and research at the same time
You’ll never use most of the information you collect. One of the most useful tips was to write and research at the same time.
Research is engrossing. You tell yourself that you need “more research” and put off writing. Sadly, I tend to do that too much; it’s a habit I need to break.
Do you have any research tips? Please share in the comments.
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