Do Your Research

author - Mary Frances Cavallaro cropped 2Every author and writer to some extent give a “tip of the hat” to other works or authors that have inspired them. Even the greats have referenced or paid homage to others. For example, in Ulysses, James Joyce wrote, “After God, Shakespeare created most.” And like many current works, novels, short stories, or any other medium can be traced back to William Shakespeare – mine is no exception.

This may sound cliché, but I am a big fan of Shakespeare. I was never more interested in a class than when I studied Shakespeare. I have read the Complete Pelican Shakespeare Anthology several times. Now, this being said, I am sure it is no shock that my romance novel, More Than Love, is filled with Shakespeare. More Than Love tells the story of Frances “Fanny” Dickens, an inspiring teacher. At Chesterfield College, she meets her professor, Charles Christle, who is eccentric and obsessed with Shakespeare.

In writing my novel, my sheer adoration for Shakespeare was not enough. It was crucial that I did my research and get every quote and reference correct and fact checked. Additionally, since I was using direct quotes from his plays, I needed to make sure I found lines that fit appropriately for each scene. This was time consuming, mainly because there are lines and lines from all of his works that could have fit, but I needed the “right ones.” This work was much needed and mandatory since it was to be published and would be in the public eye. All the research paid off.

book - 3D More Than LoveIf you are writing your own story or novel, make sure you do your research. Even though, in this blog, I heavily used Shakespeare as my example, I also had to do a lot of research on the Victorian era, as More Than Love is a period piece. When writing a period piece, it is imperative to use correct vernacular, describe appropriate attire, and have characters take on the proper mannerisms. Writing is not simply sitting with a journal or at a computer and coming up with a story. You need to research fashion, living situations, society/status, speech, mannerisms and so on. I had to read several books on the fashion and “how to date” in the Victorian era alone.

Should you choose to write and create your own story – especially if it is a period piece – make sure you know the world you’re creating for an audience. Try reading other novels and pieces from the same genre or period to get an idea of what it takes to bring that period to life. Good luck, should you go down this path! You have a lot of work ahead of you.

“Well, then, I must be off. ‘Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow’,” [Professor Christle] recited as he stormed out the door at a fast pace.

I shouted from behind, “Romeo and Juliet, Act II scene ii!”

He was halfway down the hall, but he heard my response and, then, yelled in that muffled voice of his, “Shakespeare!”

-Excerpt Chapter 1

Get your print copy or ebook of More Than Love and my short story “The Tale of Callista Vagare” from the paranormal romance collection Bewitched Love.

~Mary Frances Cavallaro

Get your copy of More Than Love and read “The Tale of Callista Vagare” in Bewitched Love.

Follow me on my Facebook page and my Kellan Publishing author page.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Reanna Field says:

    I’m an aspiring writer who hasn’t finished any stories, and I preach this tip ALL THE TIME.

    I’m writing a story that required my year’s worth of research on Schizophrenia for a story where a ghost mimicked the symptoms to get away with Possession. Even though I had already researched, I researched Schizophrenia to refresh my memory because my character, Kenji, has it. (Kenji is from the story I’m writing, not the ghost story.)

    The benefit to research is you can answer questions your audience might have which are usually an author’s oversights.


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