"Research is formalized curiosity. It's poking and prodding with a purpose." ~General wisdom

Regardless of whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction, you likely have details that need to be researched. I'm certain that I'm on several 'Watch Lists' based on my search history which includes everything from types of poison to how to get rid of a body. You may have less deadly questions from historical details of beaver skin caps to descriptions of world cities to parliamentary procedures in England.

Research makes your book come alive. In fiction it gives the prose a sense of veracity and even if the reader doesn't know anything about the topic it will "feel real" to them. And if the reader does know about the topic, and you get something wrong, it will throw them out of the story. In non-fiction you have a responsibility to get it correct.

And the best thing about research is all the random odd things you learn. For example, did you know that more people are killed each year by vending machines than sharks? Think about that next time you jostle the machine to try to score and extra Diet Coke.

Here are a few resources we found to help you make the best use of your research time.

Joanna Penn... need I say more? She's smart. And she's shared her thoughts on this topic in How to Research Your Novel... And When To Stop.

Whether your research takes you to a museum, an interview with an expert, websites, or old-fashioned books, you'll find helpful tips in How to... Research your novel effectively on the Well Stories blog.

And for the non-fiction writers, we have not forgotten about you and your slightly different research needs. Here are 9 Essential Tips for Researching Your Non-fiction Book Idea by author Debbie Reber.

~ New this week ~

New in our Members' Only community

Eileen's Eileen's Happy Hour

This week we did a group critique of two different query letters (picture book and YA fantasy) and then helped another member brainstorm story points regarding the motivation of her main character (Sci-fi). The value in this week's session is seeing how different perspectives impacted feedback.

Crystal's Strategic Author sessions

This hour we chatted about several different topics including a general update on what people are focusing on at the moment, the upcoming retreat day and what it is, brainstorming ways of working on writing craft/language with feedback from others and a wee bit of website stuff.

We also talked about how you stick with it when it seems like progress is slower than you want, and how long is realistic to hit that "tipping point."

And in this session, we did a deep dive into ideas and strategies to help launch a single title, standalone sci-fi/fantasy novel.

Quarterly goal-setting retreat

Whether you're a paid member of the Creative Academy or have only access the content in our Free Resource Room, you're invited to participate in our quarterly goal-setting retreat this Saturday, July 6, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific.

Office hours, Mastermind group, and sprints

For the month of July, we'll be hosting two writing sprints each weekday: our normal 7:30 AM and a new, member-hosted hour at 11:00 AM Pacific / 2:00 PM Eastern.

Not a Creative Academy member yet? Learn all you need to know to become a member here.

~ Creative Advice Prompt ~

Many of us have disappeared down a random internet rabbit hole to learn all sorts of odd things. (See my knowledge of killer vending machines above.) For your character, what area or topic would they like to know more about? Is it a place they want to travel? A desire to learn French? Or is it something more off-beat?

Eileen, Crystal and Donna