How to do research for your novel in 10 steps

How to do the research required to write a novel:

  1. Make friends with a librarian. Some are friendlier than others.
  2. Use Google Maps to determine where your characters live. Write the address down.
  3. Travel to the place where your story is set. Don’t knock on the door.
  4. Read novels that include the themes in your novel. All of them.
  5. Read anything that might marginally be related to your novel. All of it.
  6. Find a quiet place to work. Don’t forget to eat cooked food.
  7. Apply for grants that might support research for your novel. You might not get any.
  8. Don’t take research so seriously. It’s not a thesis, it’s a novel.
  9. Stop researching. Use your imagination.
  10. Rely, primarily, on your imagination. It’s more reliable than you think.

Good luck!


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Stephanie Jimenez

Stephanie Jimenez is a former Fulbright recipient and Prep for Prep alumna. She is based in Queens, New York, and her work has appeared in The Guardian, O! the Oprah Magazine, Entropy, and more. Her debut novel, THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING, will be published in the summer of 2019 (Little A). Follow her @estefsays.