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I have always loved the community and the challenge of National November Writing Month, but I have yet to do it. It’s not even that I start and don’t finish the monthly challenge, it’s that I don’t start. I don’t start because, simply, there’s far too much research to be done for me to write the novel I want to. That is why this month, my challenge to myself isn’t writing 50,000 words towards a novel, it’s researching for one.

I personally believe that research is something all writers should do. It doesn’t matter if your work is realistic based on your own life, or if it’s a wild fantasy, research should be done. There is so much to learn from life and even from your fellow authors, and the extra effort put in can reach people so much more accurately. My novel in progress is a crime novel. I have never, personally, been involved in a crime in my life. My personal experiences are so far removed from those of my characters, that imagination will only get me so far. As such, I’ve decided to treat my novel like I treated my MA dissertation.

This month, I won’t be participating in the National November Writing Month, I’ll be participating in my own National November Research Month, and finally, hopefully, have all the research and legwork done so that I can accurately and fairly portray the story and characters that I have created.

Just because you create a story and characters doesn’t mean that you are the only authority on the matter. If you want to connect with your readers through your characters, your representation must ring true and fairly.

The NANOREMO Challenge

The challenge I have set out for myself this month – and you can do as well if your work in progress demands as much attention to detail as mine does – is relatively simple. The end goal is to have the research for my novel done by the end of the month. I will not write towards my outline or towards my novel, but I aim to have detailed notes that will help me portray my story.

Where to Get Your Resources

For University Students

For those of you who currently attend university, I suggest downloading articles that you need for your novel research ahead of time – many will stay on your computer until you are ready to read them, and you’ll be better able to juggle university and your own novel better.

For Alumni

For those of you who have attended university and have graduated, see if your institution provides continued access to its alumni like mine does. This can even include access to your university library so that you can check out or at least have access to expensive published works you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get your hands on.

For Everyone

Finally, for those who do not have institution access, books and internet searches are your friend. Don’t be fooled, even us academic clowns will rely on the published works and Google search results to fill out our research.

Academic articles for me provide key statistics and behavioural studies that I need for my crime novel, however, I also have books to help me with the customs and behaviour of organized crime, and even a book on the history and progression of DNA crime investigations. These books cost no more than any other book and can be readily purchased from your bookshop or even on Amazon.

Reading is powerful, and this month I don’t challenge myself to write 50,000 words of a novel, but perhaps 10,000 words of notes. Join me on my challenge and let’s see if I can manage to get past the biggest hurdle when it comes to my novel: the amount of research involved.

About The Author

Profile photo of Cassandra Kosmayer

A graduate trying to sort all her dreams together. Writer. Photographer. Artist. Adventurer. Wanderer.

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