Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Doing Research

Research is a necessary fact of life for writers, even those who write fiction.  And while it's true that the writer of fiction can take liberties with the facts and even make things up, it's also true that said writer has to make things believable to the reader.

For example, if the fiction writer is using Australia as a setting then said writer still needs to know about climate and other geographic aspects of the chosen location.  Did you know that summer in Australia occurs between December and February?  Well, even in a work of fiction, if the writer doesn't know this then the reader will come to doubt the writer as legitimate.

How do you find out such information?  Well, government sources are an excellent resource of free information, especially with regards to tourism.  It's easy enough to "Google" your question, which is what I did and at the top of my list of "hits" was a link to the Australian Government's website and the answer to my question.  Here's the link:


This is one of the ways in which the Internet has been a blessing for writers.  True, physically experiencing a location is the best way to learn about it, especially in terms of using all one's senses, but this is neither practical and in many cases affordable.

In the United States don't overlook city, county and state websites for a plethora of information to get to know a location you want to use in your writing efforts.  Even made up towns are more believable when they resemble an actual location.

One such online source that I often make reference to is the CIA World FactBook.  Here's the link:


Peruse it and you'll understand why.

Another source is the Government Printing Office.  Here's the link:


They have an online bookstore that is quite impressive. If you can, put your self on their emailing list and you'll be surprised, even delighted with the titles they release.

1 comment:

Debra St. John said...

Hi Terry,

These are great suggestions. I tend to use children's non-fiction books for research. It has all of the basic information in an easy-to-read format. Plus a lot of great pictures!