Research Fairy


Some writers thoroughly research prior to starting their stories. Others write first and research later. Is there a right way to do this? I think it’s personal to your writing process.

My approach is mixed. I can’t do all my research before, because I know I’ll come up with questions as I write and if I try to cover everything before hand, I’ll never get started writing. If I wait to research later, I’ll make drastically wrong assumptions and the story will go in a direction that can’t be supported by reality.

Of course, the problem with researching mid-story is my tendency to fall down the rabbit hole and never come back. I find research fascinating, even if it can get tedious at times.

Luckily, I seem to have my own Research Fairy!

I was chugging along with my writing when a friend dumped a binder full of info into my lap — research pre-bundled just for me! It’s an awesome early Christmas present.

However, it revealed a horrifying truth: reality has it all wrong. In Julia, life happens A, B, C. Reality is all screwy with things happening A, C, B. Pesky facts.

I’m worried. B and C are both important. They both push the characters and trigger forward plot momentum, but they aren’t interchangeable. I’m tempted to stick my fingers in my ears and sing la, la, la. Perhaps that’s not the best strategy, but I don’t want to put on the brakes since I was chugging along before the fairy landed.

How do you work your research into your writing…what about when your research doesn’t quite go your way?


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