Research

research

“I need two c.c.s of epinephrin stat!” 

“OBJECTION! Leading the witness!” 

Do you really know what the hell your talking about?

When it comes to writing novels, particularly these days, we want as much realism as we can get. Competing with television shows like Grey’s Anatomy that somehow make medicine look a lot more interesting than it probably really is on a day to day basis requires an author to do a great deal of research. Wikipedia will not help you here. A library might be your best bet, and if you can ask someone who’s actually in the field your character is might be even better, but if you can’t do that, here are some resources to help you with your particular novel genre.

General:

Britannica.com: The Encyclopedia is always an excellent resource for everything you could possibly imagine, but encyclopedias are both expensive and fairly large tomes of information. Fortunately for you and I, one of the best encyclopedias has been made for the web. So anything you could hope for, is right there.

Medicine:

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services:

MediLexicon: For medical terminology and definitions

Medical Dictionary:

National Library of Medicine

Legal:

This one varies state to state so you might first start by finding your state’s website (or the state in which your novel is set) and finding a list of their laws and the ways in which situations might be handled. Court scenes are generally exaggerated to make them more interesting because unless your a lawyer you probably don’t find actual court cases all that fascinating to watch play out (or read).

FBI Freedom of Information Act: For all things criminal investigation that you could possibly want to know.

Misc.

Encyclopedia Mythica: A compendium of all things mythological from all across the globe.

Writer’s Digest: Everything from resources to articles about writing.

Also be sure to check out news organizations like AP, CNN, the Guardian, New York Times and Time for everything in between.

Have other recommendations? Feel free to submit them in the comments below.

 

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