Tuesday, 24 January 2012

On Researching Ghosts And Research Tips

 This is a picture of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, UK. This picture was taken by photographers from the Country Life magazine in 1936. Here's a picture of Raynham Hall (below):

Before I start my post, look to the right and you will see the link for my Twitter page! Please clicky and follow me! I'm feeling lonely.

Ok so back to the post.

I've been thinking about writing a ghost story for the past few days and decided today that I would research on ghosts. But I was kind of stuck. How do you research a ghost story? Ghosts don't exist! Or do they?

I read some articles on ghosts and haunting spirits in gardens and then proceeded to Youtube where I watched some videos of British ghostly tales and am now too scared to look out of the window into the dark night. So I think that's enough research on ghosts for now although I am now spooked enough to write a spooky ghost story.

I'm looking forward to actually writing the story though! It should be fun!

Being a writer, you have to do a lot of research and it can be tough. Lucky for me, I'm a paranormal freak and had to compile an entire lecture on ghosts back in Year 9. That was fun but everyone called me Ghost Girl for a while after that (remember I was called Ghostie Girl in the first few blog posts!).

So here are some tips for anyone who is researching for a book:

  1. Make it clear what you need to research. Just typing ghosts/vampires/zombies into Google won't get you an optimal result. 
  2. Have a folder dedicated to your research. 
  3. Read everything you can about your topic in detail. This is important in helping you build up your world. 
  4. Refine what you about your topic into what is going to be included in your work. For you imaginative folk, use about 50% of your research and existing mythology and make up the other 50% but remember to use your extensive research as a guideline so you don't go off and write about fairies sparkling vampires.
  5. Write an article on your topic but ensure it is refined and includes all you need for your writing. I would suggest an introduction, about 8 points about the topic in detail and a conclusion. (For my research on magic and witchcraft in the UK, I wrote a 3000 word article on my findings. About 40% of my article is fiction and 60% is based off previous beliefs and facts).
So there we go! Those are my tips for research!

So how do you research? Is it an exciting part of writing or would you rather not have to go through it? What would your advice be? I would love to know what you think so feel free to leave a comment.

And please follow me on Twitter! I love you! I want to hear from you! And now I'm starting to sound like a stalker.



  1. Good approach to research. I like the idea of writing a short article emphasizing what's important for you.

  2. I'm officially following you on Twitter! ;)

    I absolutely love--LOVE--anything involving ghosts, so the fact that you're writing a ghost story is exciting to me!

    As for research...I love that, too! So many fantasy authors seem to make up everything anymore, disregarding every last detail from actual folklore, and that's simply not fun to me, as a writer. I research as much as I can so I can also be as true to the original mythology as I possibly can! I usually dedicate a whole notebook for research when plotting a book. This way, I can have all the info in one place and refine it all to fit my story.

    Although I'd love to be 100% true to folklore (instead of just 50/50), I realize it's more like 80-90% on a good day, since it can be hard to have everything make sense while world-building. Plus, some myths out there are contradictory. In those cases, I must choose which version I want to be "real." (And because I get so obsessive with this, I tend to create in-book reasons why the contradictory tales exist in the first place, haha!)

    Anyway, love all your tips! I agree with all of them...although I have never tried writing articles about my topic before. I'll have to consider that sometime!

    1. Thank you!!

      I love ghosts too! They scare me but they're so fun to write about because you can do so much with them! They can be scary, romantic, funny...

      That's a lot of research! I love that you use a notebook! I tend to have a folder or a box and I just shove all my notes in there!

      Thank you! You don't have to publish the articles but if you write one with everything you need on there, it's a much more organised reference pack than a box full of scruffy bits of paper.

    2. That's so true about ghosts. They can be so versatile, story-wise!

      I can easily see how having an article on hand would be beneficial. I tend to tab things I plan to use in my notebooks, which can get confusing after a while, haha!

    3. Actually, I find tabs can be useful if you have books and folders with a lot of information. It lets you know where the most important information is. Unless you're like me and like to tab everything because it looks cooler haha!

    4. That's my problem exactly--I tend to find myself tabbing everything! Haha.

    5. That means everything is important!

  3. I so agree with having a folder for results. Definitely needed!

  4. Spooky picture above!

    So far, I have researched as I've gone, used it in the story directly, but I have a planned project that will need a lot more organized method of research. Thanks for the tips. I love the idea of keeping a folder. :)

    1. I know right! I would hate to be in that house on my own at night.

      No problem.

  5. Kamille,

    I've got a tab open so I can follow you on Twitter, yes, it can be kind of lonely. There are many times when nobody responds to my tweets. So, following soon. :)) Feel free to reach out when you feel the need to tweet.

    Thanks for your comments on my latest post. I love the feel to your blog. Are those red poppies? Lovely!

    I wish my nose piercing was cultural for me, and it is kind of, just by preference. Traveling to India is one of my goals in life. I want to practice yoga with a them. :)

    I've been on several ghost hunts. One of my favorite shows is Ghosthunter on SyFi channel. My own ghost story went a lot further than what I mentioned on my blog post. Best of luck on your new story. Have fun!

    1. Thank you so much!

      I know. I tweet like hell and so far, like two or three replies.

      I think so. I can't really tell since the only poppies I see are the armistice day ones.

      There's nothing wrong with it. It's just exploring other cultures. And they do look pretty!

      Thanks! I'd be too scared to go on a ghost hunt! I love Most Haunted. It's too dramatic though.

  6. Hey, feel free to go to my Twitter page by clicking on my name, and checking out who I follow or my followers. You can find Twitter peeps that way. I follow several from Rachael Harrie's Campaign Challenges, SheWrites.com (if you don't belong to shewrites.com, you should! search me there) and then others are favorite authors, and things like that. You can "follow" from my list.


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