Research. I have to admit, that when it comes to writing, this is one part that I am not fond of. In my opinion, it’s a pain and it’s boring.
If you’re writing fiction, you may be lucky enough not to have to do any research. Many times, I don’t do any. For example, in three out of four of the short stories I’m working on now for my collection, I didn’t have to do any. The stories are either horror or fantasy and have very little to do with real events that took place. One of my short stories, however, does require a little bit of research.
Now, it is true that the story is fiction and that not everything has to be perfectly correct. After all, fiction does mean ‘not true’. However, at the same time, the story deals with time travel and Paris in the 1940s, so I do want some stuff to be accurate. For this, I do have to take the time to look stuff up. I want to know about the hotels, stores in the area, restaurants, etc. I also want to draw an accurate description of the apparel worn back then. So, I stopped being lazy and started working!
The real point of this post is for me to explain that while research can be important, if you’re writing fiction, it’s not the most important thing in the world. Fiction doesn’t have to always make sense and it doesn’t always have to go by the book. If you want to fudge a little about what went on in history, then you can. It’s your work of fiction after all! So try not to stress yourself out about it!
Also, even authors as talented and as famous as Stephen King make historical errors. He admits that not all things are perfectly accurate. The most important thing in my opinion, and maybe even his, is that the story is well-told and enjoyable!
So next time you’re doing research for a work of fiction, do the best you can to get stuff right but try not to stress out about it too much!