Assuming you went ahead and did a ton of research after reading part one, you’ve got a pile of facts and figures now. The question is, what do you do with it all?
Part 2.1- Organizing your research.
First you need to organize it in a way that makes it a quick reference. Nothing is going to be helpful if it’s scribbled on a sticky note that ended up on your kids shoe and made its way out into the driveway. Personally, I go back to my book bible. I’ll need it with me anyways, what with its accurate dates and details about my series, so I commit a portion to my notes.
This part I will tab as much as possible, so that while I’m editing a chapter and need to remember what that really cool word I learned for what the feather on an arrow is called, (fletch) I don’t have to sort through five pages of spinning diagrams to find it.
I also color code the hell out of everything. The major color code for me is based on the character pov. I put research notes for that character in his or her section. I do not need to have my krav maga notes out while I’m writing about Victor, and I don’t want to be troubled with them.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of charts and graphs, so I add a lot of them. This is why I’d advise a three hole punch, and a big ass binder.
So now we have all of our notes color collected, color coded and sorted by character. Now, keep it with you while you’re writing. This is why it’s so important to have this all in a binder, and make friends with a nice big writing bag. Also lower back pain.
Step 2.2 Now, what are you going to do with all of this?
Yes, even in a fantasy setting, it’s important to remember that suspension of disbelief is a funny thing. Readers will accept your fantasy world rules if you’ve expressed them clearly. They won’t accept if you’re talking about something simple like baking a chicken and you screw it up by making it in the microwave.
Set the scene.
One of your biggest jobs as a writer is to describe things. Your reader needs to know how things around your characters look to be properly sucked into the story. Well, how are you supposed to do that if you don’t have any idea?
By the way, here’s something I started doing recently that has helped me a ton. I got a tablet for Christmas, and the first thing I did was download the Pintrist mobile app. I started making a pin board for each of my fictional worlds. Then, when I’m writing for that country, I pull that page up for inspiration.
Open yourself up to new ideas.
Speaking of inspiration, you’re sure to find some while doing research. Maybe even the helping hand your plot twist that wasn’t twisty enough needed. Maybe an explanation for why your character does that weird thing. Or maybe you’ll just find out that it used to be common practice for Norsemen to put butter in their tea, and decide that this has to go in the book. Anything you learn about any subject has the potential to inspire your writing, but obviously if you’re looking into things that inspired your stories to start with, the ideas are going to multiply like rabbits