Goodreads question: How is fiction writing similar to non-fiction writing?

Originally posted over on my Goodreads author page at this link.

I truly thought that the process of writing a fiction book versus a non-fiction book would be completely different. Writing non-fiction, you end up doing quite a bit of research, because you want to get the information right. People read fiction books as a type of escape, whereas they are reading non-fiction books as reference.

But what I learned while writing Migration: Beginnings was that you need to do research – just as much if not more – on what you’re writing. Migration: Beginnings takes place primarily in Portland, Oregon. Now I live outside of Portland, so it’s easy to keep the landmarks in my head. For instance, the drive from the airport down I205, is quite clear to me, and the mall that they pass along the highway is the closest mall to my home.

But the book sees Rhys and Jason trotting across the globe, from a mundane trip to Sacramento, to Japan, Nepal, and Zimbabwe. While I made up the story that Jason’s grandpa tells him, the “so high up, that it almost touches the sky” and “hidden behind a wall of water”, the basic geography of Nepal and Zimbabwe actually exist. I had to do research on how to get there, closest airports, and the like, because I wanted it to be realistic.

So there you go. Research is the same no matter if you’re writing a book about travel, or a book about a couple that runs around the globe figuring out clues, that leads them to another planet.

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