Research Is the Devil by Dianne Hartsock

Have you ever heard the phrase 'The Devil's in the Details'? It's true! Whatever genre you're writing, it's those details that will trip you up if you're not careful. The reader will find the one flaw in your plot and not be shy about broadcasting it to all and sundry.

I was fortunate when writing my newest release THE SHED. It's the sequel to my psychological thriller novel ALEX. In ALEX, there were a lot of police and rescue procedures I didn't know too much about. That's where the research came in. I was also extremely fortunate that my editor's husband was a member of the police force for twenty years and she could go over the details of a crime scene with me, or ask him if she wasn't sure about it. 

I didn't have this resource when I wrote THE SHED. Again, there were crime scenes and official statements and several rescues, but these were all new situations and had to be handled accordingly. My stories take place in Colorado and I needed to find out the laws pertaining to each situation and how they are handled.

Then there's the fact that my main character is a mental health specialist with a private practice and also works at a clinic where he sees several patients. You see how important research is! Knowing almost nothing about this medical field, I needed to find out what his education would be, roughly how old this would make him. Oh, and at one point he hypnotizes Alex, so I needed to research this whole field and find out which technique would work best for them.

Good thing I enjoy research for its own sake! So many details to get right so my readers aren't pulled from a scene, thinking it's unbelievable. It's that whole 'suspending disbelief' quality we need to keep in our stories. If a reader is pulled out of a scene, even for a moment, by something he doesn't find plausible or simply knows is untrue, then we've lost them. Even if they finish the story, this scene is the one they'll remember and talk about. And we don't want that, do we? 

So, whether you find research tedious or as exciting as I do—side note, I also write m/m erotic romance so much of my research is very exciting!—take the time to do it and get your scene right. Once you've lost a reader they are very hard to get back. But if they believe in you, you've won them over for life.
Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!

Guest Blogger Bio 

After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, Dianne now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

Dianne is the author of m/m erotic romances, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.




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