Writing

Reading for Research Purposes

Do you read for the purpose of research when you are writing? Or do you save reading purely for pleasure?

I don’t ever finding reading a chore, but sometimes my choice of books is dependent on what I am wriitng. Some people don’t read at all when they’re in the process of writing a book of their own. They say it influences what they write. I prefer to read as many stories with a similar theme as I can manage. It’s like market research in a way and it also helps make sure that my story has its own unique properties.

Here’s the list of books I’ve been reading the last few weeks. Not all of them would have made my book shelf had I not been looking for a certain type of book. Others, I perhaps wouldn’t have chosen, but I’m really glad I did. That’s the advantage of reading around your subject. You sometimes stumble across a real gem of a book that you would have perhaps overlooked before.

Don’t Look Back – Erica Spindler
It’s ten years since Kat McCall left her hometown after being accused of killing her sister, Sara. She returns to find out the truth, having been unable to put the past behind her. As far as some people are concerned though, Kat is guilty and it seems that there are also others who don’t want her to uncover the truth.

That Night – Chevy Stevens
18 yr old Toni and boyfriend Ryan are accused and convicted of killing Toni’s younger sister, Nicole. 17 yrs later, Toni leaves prison a different person to when she first went inside. Being out on parole and back in her hometown, she tries to adjust to life back on the outside. But it’s not easy. This story flits between Toni’s current situation in prison and the run up to the murder of her sister. It’s a gripping read that deals with bullying with nightmare consequences.

Out of the Depths- Cathy Macphail
Tyler lawless can see dead people, but no one believes her. After being forced to leave her old school because of her so-called made-up stories getting her in to trouble, things don’t seem to be much better at her new school either. All she wants to do is fit in, but that’s not easy to do when she can see a dead boy and he won’t leave her alone.

Behind Closed Doors- Susan Lewis
14 yr old Sophie Monroe vanishes one night and it looks as though she has run away from home. DS Andrea Lawrence is in charge of the investigation, but the details of Sophie’s case are dangerously close to home for her, forcing her to deal with a painful past and not let it cloud her judgement on this new case.

The Girl in the Photograph – Kate Riordan
It’s 1933 and young unmarried girls are not supposed to find themselves expecting a baby. Alice e
Everleigh, on her mother’s instructions, is to stay at an old estate called Fiercombe Manor until her baby is born, then she must give it up for adoption. Whilst staying at the manor, Alice begins to uncovers a mystery of previous resident, Elizabeth Stanton. Mrs Jelphs and Ruck, the only remaiming staff from the time refuse to speak of what happened, but Alice is drawn to Elizabeth’s story, as though it has a connection with her own.

From this list, I would recommend That Night and The Girl in the Photograph, inparticular, although all were good in their own way. Can you see the theme? – mystery dead people, ghosts and murders and being wrongly accused!

I’m sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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20 thoughts on “Reading for Research Purposes

  1. All those books sound interesting. I read while I write. Sure, it does give me some ideas, but I think the best way to improve writing (aside from actually writing) is reading. I sometimes tend to read more books in the genre I’m writing about, though.

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  2. I tend to do my reading of a certain subject before I start writing about it and then read other stuff whilst I’m writing, I don’t know why. I’m currently on the look out for memoir =]

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  3. I honestly just enjoy reading and for me it’s all research, although often it’s a by product if you like. I do like the Kindle for allowing me to make notes of things I like or am drawn to now as well. I’m liking the theme very much by the way 🙂

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  4. I read for three reasons now! The first is books I enjoy and just want to read (and some on your list look fab), the next is books in the genre I’m writing my next one in (which can overlap with my first list). And sometimes I do that with a sneaky preview sample on Kindle so I don’t actually read the whole book. And the third one is research for background which is enjoyable too because I’ve always loved non-fiction. The challenge is finding the time!

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    1. That’s a lot of reading! It’s a good idea to read the previews to give you a little insight into the book. The only non fiction I read are health related books and believe it or not, I actually read cook books from start to finish before attempting any recipes. Not every single word of course, but I like to get a feel for where the author is coming from.

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  5. Ever since re-discovering reading a few years ago I’m totally hooked and always have a book on the go. I could never stop reading in order to write – I’d feel bereft! Also, i agree, it’s like research and i think you learn a lot regardless of genre. Thanks for sharing these, I will download some – I like a good mystery! Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting

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    1. I remember the dark days of young children and no reading. And then discovering that you can read one handed with a child on your lap thanks to the kindle. What a life saver! All the books on this list were in print. I don’t know why but I just fancied a break from the e reader to go back to a real life book.

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  6. Thanks for this food for thought. At the moment my bedside reading pile includes several ‘just for pleasure’ books, and 3 books I’m reading specifically for ‘research’ (although I’m expecting to enjoy them too).

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  7. Linked to your novel theme. I like it. Did you find reading books close to your own helpful? I think I’d be intimidated and worried I’d accidentally plagerise (I feel like this regardless though).

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