Research is Crucial to Writing

posted Dec 17, 2017, 11:35 AM by David Alan Binder

Research is Crucial to Writing

 

Robert McKee recently sent out an email.  That email has an article on research.

 

The entire article is here:

“Generally, a story thrives on research of three types; research of memory, research of imagination and research of fact.

First, ask yourself "What do I know from personal experience that resonates with my characters' lives?" Explore your past, relive it, and then write it down. In your head it's only memory, but written down it becomes working knowledge.

Secondly, ask, "What would it be like to live my character's life day by day?" While memory gives us chunks of life, imagination takes fragments of experience that seem unrelated, then finds hidden connections and merges them into a whole. A working imagination is research.

Finally, suppose for a moment you're writing in the genre of Domestic Drama. You were raised in a family and you can imagine families. But if you read respected factual works (anthropological, social, psychological studies etc.) on the subject of family life, you'll reach a depth of knowledge and understanding you couldn't have gained any other way.

Research thoroughly enough and you will finally experience a phenomenon authors love to describe in mystical terms. Characters will suddenly spring to life and make choices of their own free will, take actions that twist the plot in new, unexpected directions until you can hardly keep up with the outpourings. This isn't your story's immaculate conception. This is the result of research.”

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