The role of research in my writing depends on the piece.
My travel articles are all written during and after my visit to a particular place. Sometimes it seems like I am an integral part of the story, such as when I write either about people I have met or about the effect a place has had on me. On other occasions, the story can tell itself without my presence. I don’t or can’t add anything to the story and so the description of the place is enough. My research will consist of writing down my thoughts in a notebook and collating these words later when I return home.
My pieces that parody existing sports or traditions don’t require much research other than my natural interest and passion in those parts of life. My mind has stored many facts about existing traditions, sports, and travel around the world. A natural curiosity about how certain sports could be combined or about how some traditions could occur slightly differently has caused a synthesis of certain elements from these three interests and all I have to do is let the creativity flow until the story has been written.
My latest idea seems to be murder/mystery stories. I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books, and most of Dorothy L Sayers’s and Ngaio Marsh’s. I have seen all The Midsomer Murders on British TV as well as almost all the Marple and Poirot TV adaptations there are in existence. I didn’t do this as research, I was just fascinated by the intricacies of the plots. However. all of the reading and watching is now being used as research for my latest Goat Parva Murder Mysteries.
So my belief on research is that you should write about what interests you, because you have a passion for the subject and an enthusiasm for writing about it. You will always find out more about subjects that interest you. Your writing should be based on your interests as this is what your mind enjoys thinking about and a writer’s creativity is fuelled by enjoyment and passion.