You are going to have to do some research in order to make your book seem more authentic. Even if you are writing an autobiography you still have to go back in your mind to research incidents that happened and most likely look up dates and names. Nothing is worse than writing a book where you get facts, dates and other information wrong.
Local Libraries and Websites
It is a good idea to research different types of books that have been successful in the genre that you have chosen for your book. When you are performing research, you can use your local library as well as the internet. If you are writing fiction, you will need to research even more. For example, if you are writing a murder mystery, you need to know police procedures as well as how murderers are caught. You can discover this information by taking a look at books in your local library. Some authors go as far as to take a class in something that they want to learn about at a community college, so that they can be better prepared for their book. Do not however let your time be taken up solely with research. Many writers enjoy research so much that they neglect to write their book and this is something that you do not want to do. Research your book so that you have the right information for your story but not so much that you end up writing a thesis. One way to research what you are writing is to do the research after you have finished the first draft of your book or research as you are writing. The internet makes it easier to do research now more than ever as you can get most of the information that you need to research your book if you go online.
It is also a good idea to research the characters in your book, even if they are fictional. Discover some information about personality traits of people as a good writer is very much in tune with psychology and the way that people think. In fact, if you want to get in touch with the characters that you create, you can do so by learning a little about psychology. Creative writers are often advised to take a class so that they can get in touch with the way that people think and react to certain situations. By learning how others think, you will be able to bring more to the book than your own perception of how to react in a certain situation. This will also help you with dialog as realistic dialog is very important when writing a book. If you understand how and why people react in a certain way and speak in certain terms, you can give your characters more depth.
Writing Courses and Groups
In addition to researching your characters and plot, you should also make sure that you do some research on what makes a good book. You can take a writing course or even join a writing group. The more input that you get from other writers and the more information that you share, the better your book will be. There are also conferences that you can attend for writers, as well as workshops. You can make these all part of your writing research as, in addition to researching your book, you should also research the components that make up a good book. A good book has the following:
- Three dimensional, believable characters
- A conflict
- A climax
- A resolution to the conflict
You need to have some sort of conflict in the book that is presented right from the start and which must be resolved by the ending of the book. This does not mean that your book has to have a happy ending, but you cannot leave anything hanging out there that remains unsolved. You also want to craft your book so that it reaches a climax, which builds up throughout.
Points of View
Another thing that you need to determine is which point of view you want to use to write the book. You can choose first person narrative, which is an easier style to write but is limited to the thoughts and actions of the main character or narrator of the story. You can write first person observant which tells the story from the point of view of another character who is observing the action. You can choose third person and still write from the point of view of the main protagonist. When you are writing from the third person, you can also delve into the point of view from other characters in the book. Of all styles of writing, third person omniscient, which sees into the heads of all the characters, is the most difficult to write. Take a look at books that you like to read and see which writing style will best fit as the point of view that you write from can make or break your book. For example, the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were a flop at first, until he changed the point of view coming from Dr. Watson, which was first person observant.
Past or Present Tense?
In addition to point of view, you also need to decide if you are writing in the past or present tense. Most books are written in the past tense, although you may want to take a look at “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow to see an example of first person narrative in the present tense. Writing in this way is more difficult, but lends more action to the book. Do your research by studying other books and your own writing style to see which point of view and tense you wish to use. First person narrative, which is also called prose writing, is the easiest, but has limitations. Third person omniscient is the most difficult, but opens up the thoughts and feelings of other characters in the book. This type of research should be done before you start your book, but can be changed if you find that it is not working for you and how you want to tell the story.