I hope all my American followers had a safe and fantastic Independence Day this weekend. The holiday had me reflecting upon our freedoms, the freedom of speech in particular. Which, oddly enough, led me to think of researching a novel and deciding what to put in and what not to. I know what you're thinking, why would a fantasy writer be researching a novel? The novel I'm researching for is going to be a sort of young adult historical fantasy.
This novel involves a Mariana trench depth of researching. I'm even going so far as to learn another language to help immerse myself into the culture and get the voice for the story just right. When you're writing a story that requires so much research it can end up making your novel too fat. But, having invested so much time and hard work in it you might find it hard to cut unnecessary parts. You may have a tendency to put all that great research in your novel when it isn't needed.
Here is an easy tip for what to leave out: If it doesn't do something for the novel, cut it. To use an old saying, if you introduce a gun in scene one, you have to use it by the end of the novel. The same goes for research that you've integrated into your novel, it must mean something to the novel itself, not just to you. That doesn't mean that you can't describe someone or set the scene, just be careful not to over do it.
Several years back I read a book by an author that broke this rule with devastating affect. It was one of the heaviest books, both literally and figuratively speaking, that I've attempted to read. The author went on for pages about plants and herbs that never meant anything to the story. It was obvious they had researched the plant life and couldn't help but put it in the book, in excruciating detail. I never finished that book despite the fact that I had loved the author's previous three novels. I haven't bought anything by them since.
If you make this mistake as an aspiring author you may never actually debut and if you make it as a seasoned author with several published books, you may drive your fans away. Everything must have meaning, even your descriptions and settings. Follow this rule and you increase your chances of getting published!