Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Misconception About Research

Recently I've been meeting with many other authors who write in genres other than YA. One misconception that troubled me was "You write YA fantasy, you're so lucky since you don't have to do research." That troubled me since one needs to research for the story to make sense to the readers. I look at the books on my shelf and shake my head. There are books on herbs since healing plays a great part in my stories and many of my young characters use herbs. There are also cooking in these stories and yes, I do make up some of the herbs and spices used in my stories. Gingar is one that is ginger and garlic put in one plant. But I had to know a bit about both of these plants to create the one I use.

Another area of research I frequently use to create animals in my stories are the books I have about animals and snakes. Maybe the animal I chose to use is one that uses the characteristics of several animals that I've read books about. Many of the animals I choose to create are based on animals found in this world.

The biggest part of my research for my fantasies can be found on the number of books I have about ESP since those kind of talents are found in many of my stories. Also Astrology books since I oten use these to develop characters or even talents. The Affinity stories are based on the four major quadrants of astrology Air, Earth, Fire and Water.

How about you. If you're writing fantasy for YA do you research things found in our world to change them to fit the world you have created?


  1. I don't write YA fantasy but do write other middle grade and young adult stories and regardless of which genre you write, research is necessary. It seems that writing for the younger crowd requires even that much more research as we want to entertain and make things as believable as possible in our stories. I think that is why I'm struggling to write this psychological thriller I'm writing. I know who did it and sort of why they did it but getting my character from point A to point B is probably the hardest thing I've done or am doing right now. I hope to figure it out in the next couple of weeks so I can sit down and right the draft next month. This isn't a YA novel but the research is still necessary. To those who think writing for children or young adults is easy, I'd challenge them to attempt to do so. It's not a walk in the park. There is so much that goes into it - language appropriate, et cetera. Thanks for posting this - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA mystery

  2. Janet, So true! I've found that in writing fantasy, whether for YA or adults, research is as vital as it is for historical fiction. Creating an entire world is no mean feat.

    Thanks for the great post!