Why and How I Research

Why and How I Research

I have often been asked where I get all my ideas from, how I manage to compile the research or even where I look? I guess like any writer, I have a basic plan or story in mind to begin with. Then I allow the environments and characters to blossom on their own to some degree.

I start with a character interested in something and to that degree I need to learn about the subject for myself, that way I can better help that character communicate about the subject when he needs to. It may seem odd, but my characters have their own personalities, it does not depend on whether I have a high personal interest in the subject myself… though of course I wouldn’t pick something that I find boring!

At that point I begin researching. I don’t go crazy, but I get enough data for that character to have a certain amount of knowledge or experience within the arena, that would affect his outlook on life.

First I go for the basics of a new subject I need to know about. Then, if needs be, I will dig deeper into it, usually looking at certain specified parts of that subject. I will look for what parts of this new subject will enhance the story telling and naturally discard that which would either slow or confuse the flow or feel of the story.

Sometimes, if I feel that a certain subject has been done to death, I will look for new ways of telling it, or maybe even put my own spin or twist upon it, so that it is kept fresh and entertaining for the reader.

But whatever I research, I do try hard to keep the knowledge of that subject tailor-made to the person that knows most about it. I believe this keeps the story and characters more believable.

I use both books and the internet to look for interesting elements about a subject. I read and listen to books and watch films and TV programmes that are fairly varied in genre and age group. This way I believe all these various and colourful stories become soaked-up in the back of my mind, ready to come out later and help to colour my own adventurous stories.

I am sure you can see within my stories that the research plays a strong and central theme throughout. I do hope you enjoy the fruits of my research labour!

March Newsletter

March Newsletter

I have been in recent talks with some interesting parapsychologists, as my story ‘One Winter’s Day in June’ caught their eye. For those of you that are not familiar with this short book, it is based on the true story of a five-year-old boy with a disturbing past life memory.

Parapsychology is the study of the more unusual mental phenomena associated with both the mind and the ‘postulated’ spirit. I chatted on a particular Facebook group that I was invited to and ended up looking further afield and into other groups of a similar nature. It is always fascinating to me the amount of people that are interested in the subject of past lives or are looking for answers to questions that they have.

Feel free to share any of your own stories on my blog, Facebook or by replying to this email. It is always fascinating to hear these different stories.

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On a separate note, for those of you looking to pursue a literary career, I must impart some knowledge that I have gleaned over these last few months. I think if I have learned anything during this writing journey, it is to thoroughly review the estimation of effort that is really needed to bring a book to life in its entirety. That said, I have tended to opt for various internal illustrations and quality book covers, so therefore I can expect to pay a little extra, but when I started out I really did not understand the magnitude of what went into a completed book and so kudos to all the author’s out there doing it every day.


I thought I’d share a sneak preview to an internal map I have had made for the upcoming Christopher Daring novel: The Forest of Riddles, by the brilliant illustrator Dawn Larder. I have been having great fun with the internal illustrations and with the map finished, they are almost wrapped up. You can see her great array of works at: http://www.theglimmertwinarthouse.com/


In other news, for any of you on Goodreads, we still have an exciting giveaway happening for What’s the Time Mr Wolfdog?, here: Giveaway


Don’t forget that as a subscriber you are entitled to an audiobook of my short story A Figure in The Mist, totally free! If you have not yet claimed your free gift, then click here to let me know. And don’t forget to share the news with your friends and family, I would love to reach more people with my stories and word of mouth is always the best place to start.​

Stephen.