Why you should research your novel or manga

Hello all! Wow…it’s been almost two months since my last post. =x

But fret not! Today I’m not going to rumble on about meaningless things because I managed to invite Ms Wena Poon to share some great tips on how to do a solid research while working on our novel or manga. Enjoy!

At bullfighting school in Sevilla, Spain, researching for Smoke, the sequel to Alex y Robert.

Wena Poon jots down some tips to encourage you to research your writing projects. She is the author of Alex y Robert, Lions In Winter, The Proper Care of Foxes and the four Biophilia novels collected in The Biophilia Omnibus. She was born and raised in Singapore and now lives and works in the US. Her author website is www.wenapoon.com.

  • Google, Wiki, YouTube the heck out of your subject first
  • Borrow all the relevant books at your local library (free!)
  • Refine and narrow down your list of queries
  • Set budget for research
  • Advance planning helps
  • Do not be shy about talking to strangers
  • Do not be afraid of getting lost: bring your GPS
  • Ask around for sources, explore all your networks
  • Friend the friends of friends, then their friends, to get your source
  • Helps on the money front if you have a day job
  • Plan your vacation days around book research travel
  • If you have to fly, and have no money, sign up for budget airfare deals
  • If you have small budget, be prepared to stay at hostels or strangers homes
  • When abroad, buy groceries instead of eating at restaurants
  • Do your research beforehand: nobody wants to talk to an ignoramus
  • Always go the extra mile to confront your subject or go to your location in person
  • Be prepared to be victimized, hurt, or hospitalized (and then use it for the book)
  • Be nice, not nerdy
  • If you know their language, speak it
  • Don’t ask open-ended questions
  • Respect people’s time, especially if you expect to get free advice
  • Ask specific questions to get good answers
  • Don’t exploit people
  • Be culturally sensitive. When in doubt: Google It.
  • Be humble, confess you know nothing and are willing to learn
  • Ask before you photograph your subjects or use their name
  • Respect privacy requests or you will never have another source
  • Offer to buy your sources drinks, coffee, meals
  • Thank them upon your return and acknowledge them properly in your book!

At falconry school in Ireland researching for The Biophilia Omnibus, a fantasy series starring talking animals.