I love research. I know it’s unusual, but I really do enjoy getting to the bottom of a topic by really digging into what it’s all about. This is an area where many writers go by the wayside and one in which you can set yourself apart if you really take it seriously. When I wrote my first novel, Runaway Swimmer (shameless plug: available here), I read ten other books before I ever wrote the first word of the book. While this might seem a daunting task, the process of research and reading revealed to me just how much I didn’t know about the Cherokee people; people from whom I happen to descend. As a result, I was able to immerse myself in the culture and history of this people and write realistically when I finally put pen to paper. Research in today’s writing world is even easier, by a long shot! With the internet and the seemingly infinite resources you can tap into, a writer really has no excuse not to do at least some cursory research prior to writing or even along the way. In writing my latest novel (Following Durant, first in the Durant Trilogy) I used internet resources every day in order to keep me on track and inform some of the circumstances necessary to the plot in the story. Don’t neglect your research in your writing. Make your world real.