In a previous post, author Sarina Bowen discussed tropes in New Adult. There's so much in this post I love, and it ties so well into today's topic of…
What sort of research am I talking about?
Anything and everything. For every NA book, your characters major or particular job field may need research. (Law school? Nursing school? Medical school?). Did your character not go to college and instead has already started his or her career? Is it a sports novel?
How does this tie in with Sarina's post on tropes?
· Tropes are considered to be recurring literary devices.
· Stereotypes, by losoe definition, are specific ideas, often oversimplified, of a type of person or thing.
Without proper research, we can create and perpetuate stereotypes, even if unintentionally.
As some of you may know, I'm all about busting up gender-stereotypes. I love to crush them, in real life and in my novels. In Fierce, gender-stereotypes, MMA, and fighter stereotypes are turned upside down. Tori, Fierce's leading lady, is a female fighter. Those last two words already start to pull gender-stereotypes apart.
Stereotypes are not only often inaccurate and often misleading, they also lead to flat characters.
Stereotypes go beyond gender, race, and ethnicity. There are also cultural stereotypes, which are often used in New Adult. I'm talking musicians, fighters, actors, athletes and so on. NA is a great place for these cultures and subcultures, and we owe it to these cultures, these themes, and our readers to give them authenticity.
Not only do you need to research to know your characters and make them dimensional, you also need to research to know the culture and the ins-and-outs of it of what he or she is depicting.
As a reader, I feel infuriated and hurt when I read something that wasn't researched, especially when it promotes stereotypes. Finding that the author doesn't even know the most common fight terminology, for example, shows the author didn't do their homework. It also makes me think the author isn't really invested in his or her readers or the topic.
As a writer, I want to produce the most real thing I can. Not only that but stereotypes often fall flat, instead of being dimensional.
Research isn't a luxury when you're a writer, it's a requirement. It isn't "going the extra mile" or extra credit.
So, what is another way to turn tropes on their heads and make them fresh?
Remove the stereotypes.
And how can we remove stereotypes?
What are some ways to research? The internet and this glorious thing called Google, and, of course, people (find someone who has first-hand experience!).
What are other ways you research?