Research. Words no one wants to think about. I know reseach can be fun and interesting, depending upon the topic. But I have a tendency to get caught up in my research. Maybe you all know what I mean. You see, you Google (omg, where would we be without it?!?) your topic, click on a link, and BAM! you're transported to a site that is either intriguing and what you're after - or not so much so you click back and try the next link.
Then...somewhere along the way, you find an imbedded link withing the text you're reading. So, like any normal, curious human - you click it. Yup, now you're on to some other aspect in your research that you weren't necessarily after...but damn it's quite interesting. And so it begins.
By the time you look at the clock, it's 4 hours, 3 pages of notes and endless bookmarks and printed pages later.... and while you have some great pieces of research....you didn't really get enough of what you were looking for.
So what is one to do? I've heard from many other writers (of historical, suspense, mystery) that you really don't have to get "bogged" down by all the research upfront. What is their secret?
Write the book first.
Oh, now there's a slap your forehead moment! But to some, that very idea makes them freeze. How can you just "write" without knowing the facts?
It's easier than you think, really. In most cases, you don't have to be an expert. All you need is enough information to convey your knowledge (or your H/H's knowledge), or to set the scene. Take a deep breath....because all you have to do is sprinkle these bits of information strategically throughout your story. Just enough in key locations, that's it.
Do you need to understand what was happening politically? Maybe, maybe not. That will depend on what is happening in your story with your plotline. Do you need to know what combinations of drugs can kill a person? Well, yes, if one of your characters is in the medical field or is investigating a murder involving an overdose. In which case there are ways around some of this.
First, find other authors, friends, relatives who might have more knowledge in the field your interested in. Ask them some basic questions. Next, resort to our friend Google. But don't get too carried away! You're not writing a "how to" book, or autobiography. You just need to "sprinkle".
And if you're still unsure? Take a mini-break, and READ some of your favorite authors in the genre you're writing. See how they do it. Because reading is research, too.