This is hard for some people to grasp but it's important. To make a great book you have to do the work. Obviously when us writers get a good idea going, we can go on and on. We bang out a manuscript and are so excited when we're done. There is so much more to writing a quality book than that. There's actually a lot of research and pre writing that has to take place.
To make your book realistic, possible and make sense, you have to put in the research. Even fiction novels need to have some research done. There are tons of different ways to do research. It's not always going to the library or buying a book and reading it. Although sometimes you can't avoid that. Here are some tips on researching for fiction books.
*Note and record everything. Keep track of what you've read, important stuff you've learned and where it all came from. If you go back into your notes and see something that piques your interest yet it isn't labeled, you're ultimately screwed. You'll have to go through all your past books. That would be a waste of time and a pain in the ass.
*Buy the books- if you can! I know books are expensive and it sucks having to store a bunch of books but it definitely helps to have a book be your own. Personally, I love to mark it up, add notes on the pages and highlight. Also having sticky notes to mark important pages makes it a lot easier down the road.
*Use internet sparingly. The internet is a great and easy way to do a lot of research. There are some downfalls, though. Firstly, most sites aren't reputable. You have to be careful what you read. Also you can't really keep it for later. You have to print out pages and then read them again. You might as well buy the book!
*Read books similar to the one you're thinking of. This is an interesting tip because a lot of times you don't want to read books similar because you don't want to copy any ideas or have their books taint your mind. I recommend doing this after you have an outline and know where your book is going. Maybe after your first copy, start reading up and doing research.
*Use people as resources. People are a great resource, especially when writing dialog. Listen to how people talk and use their tones and their wording. Watch people's movements and notice little quirks they do. Use the things that you see. You see someone kiss, their cheeks redden, their hands go to the other persons face. You can use all of this in your writing. Observation is a great tool to use for research.
*When using locations use those that you know. And if you don't know, go there! Don't talk about France if you don't know the first thing about it. In my book, the characters go to Italy. I wouldn't write about a place I've never been. I wouldn't have my book set in Iowa or the mid-west because I know nothing about it. If you want it set there, go to the place and see what it's like for yourself.
Research is a powerful tool that can set your book apart from others. Getting into the setting and characters and back grounds makes your story that much deeper. Research should be done for every single book you write. Whether it be a crime story or a romance, there is something you should be researching.