6 Tips for Smarter Novel Research – by Jess Montgomery…

on Career Authors:

When people ask me how I research my Kinship Historical Mysteries—inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff in 1925—I share the following anecdote.

When I was drafting The Widows (Book 1 of the series), my husband asked me during an evening stroll how the writing was going.

“Oh, it’s so hard right now!” I exclaimed.

“Character motivation? Plot snarls?” he asked. (Note: He’s a statistician, not a writer. But whereas I have picked up nothing from him about statistics over the course of our marriage, he’s learned a bit of writerly lingo.)

“No, no,” I replied. “I spent all day trying to figure out exactly what kind of egg beater Sheriff Lily would have used back in 1925!”

A long pause ensued.

And then Dear Husband gently asked… “Couldn’t she have used… a fork?”

I share this anecdote to illustrate how easy it is to get caught up in researching details, or even to use research as a way to procrastinate actually, well, writing.

Properly researched details do matter in every genre, whether you’re writing historical or contemporary fiction. But remember—you’re a fiction writer, not a professional researcher. So how can you thoroughly research your novel’s background without sabotaging your precious writing time and energy?

Try these tips:

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