Ryan Holiday refers to a deliberate research process during which his book idea emerges.
Jathan Maricelli
31

Couldn’t agree more with Ryan Holiday! When writing, I generally follow this rule: 40% preparation, 20% writing, 40% revision/editing.

20% writing might seem unrealistic at first but when you outline the concept of your story/text properly, it will save you many wasted hours in front of the screen.

For fiction, preparation means: 
1: Know your characters — before you start writing! Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What do they struggle with, and why? How will they have developed at the end of the story? The better you know them (main and supporting), the easier the writing will be because their behaviors and dialogues will be driven by their individual personalities and back-stories. As a result, you’ll create believable characters and the reader is much more likely to connect with them and stay engaged in your story. (I highly recommend: “Developing characters for script writing” by Rib Davis)

2: Know your turf! Research is immensely important and there’s no way around it if you want to write a well-rounded, believable story. Start with your characters’ occupations: What’s a typical day in the life of [job title]? Is there occupation-specific language, e.g. “legal speak” for your defense lawyer or“medical speak” for your neuroscientist? If your story is based in a well-known city (London, Paris, Madrid)? Most readers would be confused to find the London Eye in Paris — check location-specific facts. These are just a few examples. Generally, my research is done when I’ve got a solid understanding of my “turf” because I’ve researched it from different angles and used a variety of sources.

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