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I’m reading Kaze Hikaru this afternoon. Manga volumes have omakes and I’m particularly love the author’s side story about their work process. One that caught my attention was Watanabe-sensei’s story about how she came up with her story and how difficult to integrate a historical events/people in the story. She almost gave up the idea but she loved it to the point she went and travel to places, and read many history books. Why the effort though? I know that she needed to be at least very close to the actual since this is her country’s history and she also thought people might criticize her if she lax with her research and opted the reason of creative liberties.

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As an otaku, I’ve always been interested with Japanese History. <3

My question is, you guys, how important is research in the book you are reading? It doesn’t only apply on historical related books because for me regardless of genre, a good amount of research will elevate a story. It’s not about sounding like wiki (because info-dumping is huge turn-off too). I’m not only speaking of accuracy, even if it’s fiction, it’s important to deal things such as culture and history carefully and with great consideration. It’s not slapping some of these things and make a play out of it because after all it is just fiction or because as an author they are free to bend and mold it as they please. I think they still need to respect the material that inspired in their story.

Yes, it’s true that some readers will not notice it. Not everyone will mind if they aren’t as near as the real thing. Sometimes enjoyment bypasses the lack of research. Look at Stormdancer, it’s quite celebrated despite the gaping lack of research (*was reminded again of horrible use of honorifics*). But personally, I’m upset because some authors are serious with their research; it’s totally unfair to them. And most of all, it’s unfair to the readers. To me, I feel like I’m treated with gullibility with the reason that I may not know the difference. But I think that it doesn’t matter whether the reader is an expert or not. It doesn’t matter because if they love their own stories, they, themselves as the authors, need to give the utmost attention to it, and I think research is part of it.

How about you? Does research or the lack of thereof bothers you like I do? Does proper research really important on fiction books? Have you read a book that you feel under researched? Share me your opinion, I would love to know. :D

2014 / 09 / 13

12 Responses to Is research can make or break a deal?

  1. Ashley says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever really cared about research in a book. Unless I’m an “expert” on the subject, I probably wouldn’t notice the difference.

    I think there are two exceptions to this:

    1. Colleen Houck’s Tiger’s Curse series. Even though I didn’t like the series so much, I could appreciate the massive amounts of research she must have done. Even though I know NOTHING about Indian mythology, I could just see the knowledge and research dripping off the page. It impressed me!

    2. If it’s a story about a place I’m familiar with (like near my hometown) and I see accurate details in the book, I get a rush of excitement. I love wandering around an area that’s familiar to me, but in a book. If that means the author did their research on the area then props to them!

    But in all other cases, I don’t mind. Especially if it’s fantasy or at least fiction. Oftentimes I read a book about mythology or a certain country and LOVE it. Then I see other people giving lower ratings because “The lack of research was painfully obvious”. Maybe it’s just fine if I’m ignorant of the topic.

    • Mitchii G. says:

      That’s true but I don’t know why, but I feel like I wanted an accurate portrayal of things that actually exist in the real world; or maybe I’m just nit-picky. But thanks Ashley! <3

  2. Emily says:

    Fantastic post Mitchii dear! < But fantastic post big sis!! <3

    • Emily says:

      Oh gosh! I had a whole ramble written out and then that only posted :( Okay, but here it is… Really, research matters to me a lot, mostly because I’m curious and I really love doing my own research to find all the tidbits I can get about a certain culture or story. It’s important to me that the author does do research, or at least make the story believable with no gaping holes in terms of facts. I read up on my own about mythology and folk tales and legends, so I do enjoy a good bit of research (which Constellation Chronicles is my archive for.. hurhur). I agree that authors must pay good attention to research as well, and not just dump anything in the way they like it. Research is important, and there are readers out there who will be interested in finding out more, and so yes, research IS important!! :DSorry for the incoherent rambling! :P Fantastic post big sis! <3

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Right! Sometimes the clever integration of the author of this information sparks interest to know more. So just like you, research for me is important. :3

  3. It depends on the story. Sometimes I feel it’s necessarily to research the topic you write about. Like books with medical aspects, example: The girl with all the gifts. The whole story would have been ridiculous if he hadn’t research the topic. If you want to make an impressive, realistic sounding story, you NEED to research what you write about.

    Let’s say you want to write a story about Greek mythology and you don’t know anything about it, how are you going to pull that off?

    • Mitchii G. says:

      Creative liberties in fiction still do have limitation! Research is important on subjects like mythology, esp if the author knows nothing about it. Thanks Mel! :D

  4. Pingback: Weekly Recap| Sep 7-13, 2014 | Oh, the Books!

  5. Sydney says:

    Hmmm…I’m actually VERY torn on this. A part of me would prefer extensive research, especially if it’s historical fiction, but unless I’m really knowledgeable about the subject I won’t be able to tell the difference!

    I can appreciate authors who do an extensive amount of research, though. I can only imagine how much time it takes and how frustrating it can be at times when you really just want to do your own thing. Great post! :D

    • Mitchii G. says:

      I think even though us readers wouldn’t know the difference, I think it’s still important to have it research it. In this manga I’m reading the author almost gave up and wanted to rewrite her story but she persevered and she felt accomplished on doing so. I think it goes both ways (reader & author), don’t you think?

  6. Finley Jayne says:

    I do think some research is necessary for some books, in order to do the world building correctly. I’m thinking especially of genres like steampunk, where the details can make such a difference in the story!

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