I want to discuss research a little bit today. In two different manners.
First, there is research for your writing. The Internet is a wealth of information, if you know how to use it correctly. Sure, sites like wikipedia pop up first and are easy to navigate, but tread carefully. Anyone can post to those sites and you can’t trust their accuracy. Rely instead on academic sites or sites whose expertise is solely about the topic you’re researching.
But, let’s not forget the importance of hands on research. There’s nothing that can substitute for actually being in the city you’re writing about, holding the object you mention in your hands, smelling the gardens, tasting the food… Your writing will be so much richer after having experienced the things you want to write about. People always say write what you know. If you don’t know it, go learn it, then write it.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to all genres (I’m not talking to you, George Lucas), but you get my point.