Researching for Your Novel

On one of the lists I'm on they are discussing research--how much and watching out not to dump what you've learned into one spot in your novel.

When I wrote my two historical family sagas I did lots of research, I wanted to know what the places the families lived in were like at the time they were there, what kind of food they ate, what they took with them when they traveled, what they saw along the way. I hoped that I could tell a story that the reader could actually see what the characters experienced. I learned far more than I could have ever put into the book.

Now that I'm writing mysteries with a certain degree of law enforcement in them, of course I've done quite a bit of research. With the law enforcement part, I do stretch things a bit, and as I remind my friends in law enforcement, I am writing fiction.

With the Native American tidbits in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, though I call the Indians Yanduchi, the real tribal name is Yaundanchi and they are a part of the Yokuts. Bear Creek Reservation in the book is very similar to the real Tule River Indian Reservation. I borrow a lot from the Indians who live there. But again, I'm writing fiction.

For my next book, Dispel the Mist,the legendary Hairy Man plays a big part. I researched the legend, saw the pictographs, heard stories of sightings, and I think the Hairy Man is every bit as real as Big Foot.

My desire is to put enough of my research into my books to make them seem real even though I am telling stories.

If you want to know more about either of my series do visit my website at

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith


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