Fact vs Fiction: The Role of Real-World Research in Crafting Thriller Novels

When it comes to thrillers, authenticity is paramount. Readers want to be transported into a believable world where the stakes are high, the suspense is palpable, and the events could realistically unfold. This authenticity comes from meticulous research and a keen understanding of the real world. Here’s how I approach research when crafting my novels.

Understanding Context: The first step is to thoroughly understand the context in which the story is set. This includes everything from the geographical location and its culture to the political climate and societal norms. If the story involves specialized fields such as law enforcement, forensic science, or espionage, it’s crucial to grasp the basic protocols, terminologies, and procedures accurately.

Character Professions: The careers and skills of characters greatly influence their actions and perspectives. Researching these professions brings authenticity to characters, whether they are surgeons performing complex medical procedures or hackers infiltrating high-security systems.

Plot Feasibility: Real-world research plays a crucial role in ensuring plot feasibility. The situations and events in the narrative should be plausible within the established laws of the story’s universe.

However, it’s important to remember that while factual accuracy adds depth and believability, the ultimate goal is to tell a compelling story. Sometimes, this means taking creative liberties with facts for the sake of narrative flow or dramatic impact. The art lies in striking the right balance between fact and fiction, ensuring that the story remains engaging without sacrificing its believability.

>> To research my first novel, “Red Flags,” I did a ride-along with a police officer.

Real-world research is a critical part of my writing process. It lends credibility to the narrative, creates a more immersive experience for the reader, and enriches the overall storytelling. It’s the invisible foundation upon which the captivating edifice of the thriller novel stands.

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