Searching for Buried Treasure: 5 Research Tips for Writers

Good tips here for researching when writing a book, particularly historical fiction. Thanks Patti.

P.A. Moed

A few months ago, I started reading a historical fiction novel set in Italy. Since it took place during World War II–the same time as my new novel–I was eager to read it. Besides, I can’t resist anything set in Italy. So late one night, I curled up with the book, eager to devour it.  I read one chapter. Then, two.  But within an half hour, I was getting impatient.  After an hour, I stopped cold and turned off my iPad.


The writing annoyed me. There were glaring mistakes, like the italicized phrases that were supposed to be Italian, but did not exist in that language or worst still, they were incorrect.  For example, Germans are called “Germanesi,” instead of “Tedeschi.”  Soup is called “menestra,” but it should be “minestra.

There were also assumptions about geography and customs.  In one scene…

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What Writing a Novel and Quitting Smoking have in Common

Giving up smoking or writing a novel? Then this should interest you, courtesy of Drew Chial.

Drew Chial

Former SmokerWhen I quit smoking everyone I knew still smoked. I didn’t have to buy a pack for the temptation find me. A friend would see me standing with my hands in my pockets and wave a cigarette in front of my lips. I didn’t have to ask for it. Hell, I didn’t even have to light it. As far as they were concerned, I looked wrong without it.

I was the type of smoker other smokers pointed to and said, “At least I’m not as bad as him.”

When I saw the cigarette smoking man, on The X-Files, hold a cancer stick to his tracheotomy, I took it as a signal to light one up myself. The filter in my mouth was trigger enough for me to light another.

My smoker’s cough sounded like a donkey heehawing. My phlegm was the color of coffee. My nicotine headaches lasted for…

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This Writer’s Life by Jeffrey Perren-Guest Post

If you write historical fiction, have a look at what this author has to say.


This Writer’s Life by Jeffrey Perren

Up before dawn — tea for me, coffee for the wife, pet the dog. Check emails, correspondence with beta readers, and miscellaneous.

So far, that doesn’t sound very exciting. But that’s the business side of things. I leave as much of that as I can to my publicist — remembering how blessed I am to have one who loves my work.

Later, write or edit the latest story. It will be a re-telling of the William Tell legend and later a trilogy set in the Age of Discovery.

But whatever the subject matter, the process is similar: research everything you can about the history, technology, and general society and daily lives of the period and people. Then, weave a plot within and around all that, one filled with drama, romance, and ideas to enrapture the reader for every single page until the end.


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Reanimating the Corpse of Your Story

No pain, no gain – as they say. Interesting tips here for writers from author Drew Chial.

Drew Chial

When my first draft is dead on arrival, I have to edit my story back to life. This is how I slice out the borrowed elements from my work and stitch something original together.


Reanimating the Corpse of Your Story

My early screenplays were full of placeholders, cop drama clichés, stock dialogue I had every intention of replacing. The margins were littered with comments like, “IOU one clever retort here,” or “IOU one line of romantic sentiment,” or “IOU one well reasoned argument to show the hero has learned a lesson.” My scripts looked like algebra equations. Editing meant scratching my head, wondering what to substitute for “X.” I knew what the result should feel like, but lacked the variables to get there.

The stories hinged on melodramatic scenes. Without the words to communicate the characters’ emotions, I went for longwinded declarations. Tender moments devolved into bloated monologues that read…

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Gender-Swapping: Some Writing Tricks for Taking on the Other Sex

Interesting tips here for any of you men trying to write from a female perspective and visa versa, of course.

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

GendersDuring my blog tour for Permanent Spring Showers (my last novel) I had an interesting question from a reader. It really inspired this post.

Here is the quote:

I always am amazed when a man writes from a woman’s perspective or a woman writes from a man’s perspective so convincingly. I was wondering how the author found writing from the opposite sex’s POV.

I don’t want to claim I’m an expert on this. That would be naive, because truly no one knows what it is like to walk in another’s shoes (or high heels), but I’ve experience doing this in my books and I have some tricks that work for me.

In my new book, I have a few female main characters (including one that has diary entries); and there is my book Megan which is entirely one afternoon in one woman’s life. So if you are thinking of writing…

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