In the last post, I went over the logistics of how to start researching. Here’s a brief summary (we’ll continue using the druggie examples):
1) Figure out what it is you’re researching.
This will include determining exactly what you want to research. So this is kind of the pre-research stage.
2) Research more about what you’re researching about.
After you know kind of what you want to research, Google some more on that specifically and figure out whether or not that’s what you’re looking for.
3) Know the logistics.
Now you can figure out what that specific thing does, the history behind it, and how it works. (With the Irish Mob, we knew the types of criminal activities they engaged in.)
4) Research the details.
The final step is knowing the specifics. Where does the mob usually hang out, where can they be found, etc.
Today, we’re going to go over what to include in your novel after having done said research. 🙂
Actually, this bit probably comes first… oh, well! Leave it to me to mess up the order! 😛
A lot of it depends heavily on your main character.
For instance, if s/he’s the drug lord, you’ll need to go deeper and figure out exactly how their organization functions, what drugs they deal with, how many people would work for them, how they would pay them, how they do business. The list goes on.
Always ask yourself questions. Is it realistic? How would they achieve that?
But if the MC (main character) is just some poor kid off the street who got in with the wrong crowd and now does errands for the organization, chances are they won’t know too much about what’s going on. In this case, you’ll probably just need to know how they deliver, where they’d pick stuff up, how they live and information like that.
If your novel is about a kidnapped person, like Alyx is in Homecoming, you might just need to know where their HQ would be, how many people were involved in that particular group, and how they live. Actually, I haven’t done that. I didn’t think to think about that. See? I didn’t ask myself the questions! 😛
Know what you’re centering in on.
If you’re just focusing on one aspect of their criminal activities, research it. The rest may not matter too much. For example, if you’re just dealing with murder, then research how they’d kill someone, what they’d do with the body, and whether or not they’d leave evidence, a false trail, a note, whatever.
Whether it be a bullet in the head, or chopping it off with a knife, or bleeding them to death, you’ll want it to be realistic (if you’re like me, anyway), and incorporate that into the story.
Research the levels of the gang, depending on what it is.
This is more example-specific, but it applies to jobs and other things like that as well. Know the heirarchy. If a secretary in the Empire State Building picks up a novel on another secretary of the ESB, she’ll either be familiar with how it works, or very confused at the lack of realism. Know what I mean? 😉
Lisa was worried about using something stereotypical. I wouldn’t be too worried about them. It’s just a label. You can take it anywhere. If a stereotypical gang has a lot of research done on them, it’ll make your job easier. 😉 Plus, your readers will be familiar with them. It actually might be better to choose a more well-known gang (or business or whatever) than some obscure, random, virtually non-existent business that deals with nothing anyone would be interested in established in Antarctica just to make the story interesting. Unless, of course, it deals with some pretty high stakes and affects your story and MC heavily.
You’ll want to take into consideration the reality of the premise too.
This goes along with knowing who your MC is and how their position affects the story. If your plot is focused on some gofer-urchin-person at the bottom of the chain, make sure that what you’re doing to them is realistic. The head honcho probably wouldn’t favor him/her at all. They’d more than likely be disposable and very replaceable. So it might not be a good idea to have the new girl no one pays attention to with the miserable life to suddenly be the big cheese’s favorite minion.
That wraps up this mini-series on research and reality composed of thoughts and opinions by this 16-year-old girl who has no life. If you have any questions or want to add something, feel free to post in the comments! 😉
Don’t forget to rate the post too if it’s not much trouble. 😉 I’d appreciate it and your honesty.