Fact and Fiction: Understanding the place of research in genre fiction

I’m a sucker for a well-researched story. And not just the story/narrative itself, but the worldbuilding. In my experience with various writing communities (both online and off), there are some writers who opt to neglect research with the excuse that it’s just fiction. I have a different view on that.

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Genre talk: Gothic Literature

I feel like a lot of writing blogs focus on the author’s process. The actual act of sitting down and putting pen to paper (metaphorically). What it’s like to churn out the perfect sentence, word for word. You’re probably not interested in that from me – I have a very “sit down and write and don’t give a fuck” mentality about it all. It’s a first draft, I can stress over the exact wording of things in the editing stages. When I think about putting down that first draft, I just tell myself, write crap.

Having said that, the more interesting side of writing (to me) would have to be the process of worldbuilding and exploring genres. And I suppose one thing you should know is that I love playing with dark/Gothic fantasy. But there have been a few challenges I’ve run into while doing it.

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What’s this? A serious blog?

After years of having a very informal tumblr blog, I’ve decided to do something a bit more serious.

I write a lot.

Actually no, I think about writing a lot. For a lot of artists I know, their work is in the process, not necessarily the final product. And while I’m not like that for my art myself, I certainly am with my writing.

Research, planning, more research, outlines, worldbuilding and character development. Which involves more research. I research a lot.

But that comes from my own writing process – I can’t even begin to write without a clear image in my mind and that clear image only comes from the worldbuilding and research I’ve done. And the planning, and the outlines.

And usually, my researching and creating brings up some interesting thoughts: how can these things transfer into this genre? How can these genres expand to include cultures and societies different than the standard we see? How can these kinds of characters be handled differently? How should these issues be handled in genre fiction? If at all?

Maybe someone else will find it useful. Who knows. But I can’t help it, I overthink things.

A writing blog about genre fiction and themes in literature