Writing Tip: Research Resources

Hey friends!

I don’t know about you, but colds and sickness have had my family down for two weeks. It’s been crazy around here! No puke at least, but lots of sleepless nights and coughing and nose blowing and all that great stuff that comes with it.

Happy new year, right??

Anyway, over this week, I’ve run across some spots in editing my novel that I have absolutely no knowledge of. Like bow hunting a deer. Or gutting one. Or even making a bow.

That’s the thing about medieval-type high fantasy. These worlds are set in a time and place that most modern people know absolutely nothing about. I’m an in-town girl. I’ve never been hunting. The closest I’ve come to dead animals is my poor chicken who died a few days ago and I found her frozen body the next morning. I certainly didn’t do it myself.

So, when my main character actually needs to hunt or even teach someone else how to hunt or field-dress an animal, I don’t have the first idea of what to do. Naturally, like anyone with an internet connection, I head to Youtube. Because seriously, you can find just about anything on youtube.

I watched several great videos about all the things I needed to know, but then I got to thinking. Should I be keeping track of this? What about when I actually publish the book? Should I be giving credit to these individuals who have no idea who I am or that I’m a novelist or just chalk it up to research?

After consulting some wise people in my writing group, I think I’ve come to a conclusion, and the answer is annoyingly ‘it depends’.

It depends on how much research you need to do. Have you looked at 30 different sources or just 3? Are you writing a non-fiction book or a fiction novel? Do you really need to fully understand the concept or is a light grasp all that’s required for your purposes?

My thought is that if you use just a few resources for your fiction novel, you should certainly give them credit in the Acknowledgements section (that admittedly, few people probably read). I watched 4 different youtube videos for my needs. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to credit them with the information that informs a chunk of pages of the book (and who knows what else by the time I’m done editing).

As one of my wise fellow authors says, ‘Give credit where credit is due’. Thanks Cecelia.

I’ve started a document where I have my resources now. I’ve written down what I searched and which channel I found it on so that when the time comes, I can simply reference that instead of trying to search out and remember where I found what.

In a world where people seem to be perfectly fine with stealing anything from anyone, this seems like the mature and considerate thing to do, right? Common courtesy we could even call it.

Perhaps it’s my cold, but at first, I thought ‘what’s the big deal?’ and thought to just move on without citing these resources. As I’ve sat and thought through it more, I know that acknowledging where I find my information is the way to do.

How do you keep track of your resources? Do you do vast amounts of research for your writing or can you get by with a bit here and a bit there?

4 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Research Resources

  1. I think that you have hit the nail on the head really, ‘it depends’ is perfect. I tend to always reference physical books that I use and have a page of the websites that I look at, but it is mostly because I might want to go back an look again 🙂 It is something that I will have to put more thought into when I get to the end of my book.

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      1. I think in the case of a non-fiction is would be easy to choose which is which but with fiction you are creating your world from everything that you have learnt throughout your life and personalising it for the works at hand.

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