After outlining for my mystery novel I start my research. There are four areas where I mostly conduct my research: Names, Job, Setting and Similar Stories.
I always start with character names when researching. Part of me feels like if I know their names before I start creating them I will know more about them very quickly. I like to pick somewhat different, unique names. I also like to look at their meaning, hoping it will describe the character somehow.
Then I move onto what my characters do for work. If I don’t know too much about their jobs then I will look up a brief description of their duties. If their job is important to the story then I will dig deeper so I have plenty of references to use.
Right now the main characters are hairstylists, a teacher and of course law enforcement.
Next I decide where the story will take place. Either in a real city or one I create. So far I’ve only created the cities for my stories. Mostly because I can create every aspect of the town instead of learning every minuscule detail of a real town.
The town where my novel takes place is in the fictional town of Lander, VT located in the Northeast Kingdom. Personally I’ve never been but the pictures are absolutely beautiful. I’m excited at using this location.
Since this is a mystery novel I’ve been reading more crime novels and researching similar cases. I like to see how other authors set up their characters and how the investigation unfolds. It helps me gauge if my story is flowing smoothly and makes sense.
Do you research? How does it help you? What websites do you use?