Today, we’re wrapping up our discussion on research. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the information Crystal has shared! Let’s gather the last nuggets.
How to Avoid Rabbit Trails
Oh, the wonderful things you can find when researching! And oh how much time you can waste. What helps me to not waste hours down a rabbit trail (and I still do often), is to keep the specific thing I am researching in mind.
When I come across something else that strikes my fancy but isn’t what I need at that particular moment, I add a note and the website link to a folder I title “Research This Later.” Ninety percent of the time, I don’t go back to it, but having it tucked away for later helps me to release the rabbit trail and stay focused.
It’s a simple trick, but it works well. You could also set a timer for how long you are going to research this topic, but I find I turn those off and just keep going.
While writing your actual manuscript, I recommend you do not go and research something the moment you find you need it. Just make a note in your manuscript like this: [RESEARCH FASHION]. The primary concern with drafting is getting the story down as quickly as you can. Research can cause you to lose that momentum.
How do you decide what to use?
Throw all you want or find interesting in your first draft. This is your place to just see where the story takes you. Once you begin the revision process, you can decide what needs cut. To make that decision, ask yourself: “What does my reader absolutely need to see and understand the story?” and “Does this slow my story down?”
If it is needed AND slows your story down, see if you can change up the presentation of the information. Can it be communicated briefly through fascinating dialogue?
If it isn’t needed, even if it doesn’t slow your story down, you’ll probably need to cut it. You can always leave it and see what beta readers think. However, what I’ve observed in today’s readers is the more concise you can be, the better.
Cutting that beloved material from your first draft can be hard, but you can still use those materials in blog posts, social media posts, and promotional opportunities later on. You already have the content, and readers may find it interesting.
There is really is so much more that could be said about research, but I have surpassed my word count. If you have questions or want to learn more about me, feel free to contact me via my website: www.crystalcaudill.com.
Crystal, thank you so much for taking the time to share all this valuable information.
“Cutting that beloved material from your first draft can be hard, but you can still use those materials in blog posts, social media posts, and promotional opportunities later on.” ~ @CCaudillWrites via @GailJohnson87Tweet
11 thoughts on “Research: Love It or Hate It, You Gotta Do It, Part Three”
Great series! I, for one, love research. Nothing turns me off more than lazy research, (read a novel about a guy who left the military after four years as a Master Sgt. – which usually takes at least 15 years. Seriously?)
Thanks for the practicality and the motivation of these posts, 🙂 Passed this along to my followers too.
Thanks, Ellie. I enjoyed to series too. I like the way Crystal broke it down for us. And I appreciate her willingness to share her knowledge with us. Not all want to do that. Thanks for joining the conversation!
Like Crystal, a timer works well for me, too. Thanks for your great tip, Crystal.
I think I need to try the timer. 😉 Thanks for joining the conversation, Jill.
I’m glad the timer works for you!
I’ve done the timer thing, and as Crystal has said, I tend to turn it off and ignore it. Giving myself permission to bookmark the item and move on is a much better approach. Thank you for the useful research tips. Very helpful!
I may need to try it. I get so engrossed in whatever I’m doing I forget to eat some days. Thank you for joining the conversation!
I’m so glad the tips were helpful!
Hah, my challenge is not falling into the rabbit hole of endless Google searches and YouTube videos. Great stuff from Crystal. Thanks for sharing!
LOL. I hear you, Stuart. At times, I think I should’ve been a professional researcher. Ha! thanks for joining in the conversation!
Rabbit holes are just so much fun. I can lose entire days to them. 🤣
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