We have recently been asked to describe the process of working in a team setting. Let me just say that as the writer of our novels, I give more than 80% of the credit to my research partner. T.L. does an outstanding job of looking for credible sources to back up the historical accuracy we strive to maintain.
The rule of thumb is: if the information isn’t in at least two verifiable trusted sources we don’t use it. In the case of Marilyn Monroe, for example, T. L. looked in numerous books that have been written about her, the time leading up to her death, and the circumstances of her death. It is unlikely, due to the research, that Marilyn Monroe killed herself with a fatal dose of any pill.
The facts surrounding her death have recently come to light. There is more material now than a decade ago given that the mandates of privacy have expired. Still T.L. spends days, weeks, or even months researching the information that may or may not be used in our novels.
She complains that she’ll hand me pages of information she has gathered and I reduce it to perhaps three paragraphs. In any genre you write, research is crucial if you want the reader to believe that they are in the world you, as the writer, have created for them.
Suspending a belief system for the reader is the most important job the writer does. When the reader can transcend the here and now to get lost in the story you’ve created for them, then the countless hours of research will pay off.