man staring at a wall full of papers and research; How to Do Research When Writing a Fictional Book

Research is crucial for a novel for many reasons. When you research, you ensure your story is accurate and believable. If you include details about a specific time, profession, or location, you’ll need to do research to ensure your descriptions are true and realistic. This helps add authenticity to your book and helps readers become fully immersed in the story.

Keep reading to find out more about researching for your fiction book and how to use that research depending on the fictional genre you’re writing.

Why Is Book Research Important for a Novel?

Research helps you create a more accurate and believable world within your story. Whether you’re writing about a real place or an imaginary one, research allows you to add details that make your story come alive. Research also limits mistakes that could distract your readers from the story.

What Book Genres Benefit Most from Research?

While research can be helpful for any fiction genre, some benefit more than others. Historical fiction, for example, requires extensive research to accurately recreate a particular period in time. Science fiction and fantasy novels will also benefit from research because they involve creating complex worlds and technologies.

How Can I Use Research for Contemporary Fiction?

Writing and research go hand-in-hand no matter what genre you write. Research elevates books and deepens your storytelling. Even if you write stories set in the present day, research adds accuracy and realism to your story. Research provides a plethora of information you can use to create a vivid setting, develop characters or your plot, and enhance the theme of your story.


If your story is set in a specific city, you can research the location’s history, culture, and landmarks to create a more immersive setting. If you can plan a trip, that may also help you immerse yourself in the city and its culture. By doing so, you are better able to provide your readers with details of the city and its people.


Research helps you more effectively develop your characters because you can gather insights into their backgrounds, motivations, and personalities.

Plot and Theme

In addition, you can also enhance your plot with research. By researching topics that are relevant to your story, you’ll be inspired to add interesting subplots, unexpected twists, and fascinating details that make your story engaging and memorable. Moreover, you can enhance the theme of your story with research because you’ll have a better understanding of your subject matter.

How Can I Use Research for Historical Fiction?

Historical fiction captures the imaginations of readers who love to be transported to another time and place. To create a truly immersive experience, it’s important to do extensive research on the period you’ll write about in your book.

Where to Turn

Dive deep into history books, explore archives, and even speak with experts in the field. By doing so, you’ll learn everything from the clothing people wore to the way they spoke, which gives you the tools you need to accurately recreate the past in your story.

Keep Details in Check

While it’s important to be thorough in your research, it’s equally important not to overload your story with too much detail. After all, you don’t want readers to feel like your historical fiction novel is actually a history book. A better way to work in accurate details is to weave in the details from your research in a way that feels organic and authentic.

How Can I Use Research for Science Fiction?

Science fiction writers create complex worlds, systems, and technologies that don’t exist, but the key to science fiction’s success is making the reader believe that such a world could exist.

What Information to Look For

If you’re writing a story about space travel, for example, you would delve into the physics of space travel, how zero gravity affects human bodies, and any psychological effects long-term space travel would have on humans to create a more realistic setting.

How Can I Use Research for Fantasy Novels?

It may seem like research isn’t necessary for fantasy novels since the story takes place in a completely imaginary world. However, that’s not true. Research is extremely helpful in crafting an immersive and believable world for readers.

What to Research

Creating a consistent set of rules for your world is possible by researching science, mythology, and history topics.

For instance, through research, you can establish how magic works in your world and what its limitations are. You’ll be able to determine how the geography of the world is structured and how that impacts the characters’ daily lives. This consistency in the rules and details of your world encourages readers to be more invested in the story and feel like they are a part of the world themselves.

How Can I Use Research for Suspense, Thrillers, and Crime Fiction?

Research is essential to writing suspense, thrillers, and crime fiction. A well-researched crime story adds depth, accuracy, and authenticity to the plot, characters, and setting.

What to Research

If you’re writing a crime novel, you’ll need to research police procedures, forensic science, and legal systems. By doing so, you’ll be able to create a more accurate portrayal of the investigation process. You’ll probably also want to explore the psychology of criminals and examine their typical motivations.

Furthermore, research can also help you incorporate real-life events into your story, which makes it more relatable and relevant to readers. By staying up to date with current events and social issues, you’ll be able to create a story that resonates with your audience and has a lasting impact.