Part of my writing routine is to research an idea before deciding on whether I should invest time into writing a story board. Some ideas are just that ideas – they sound good but don’t aways transform into books. And that’s okay.

Researching an idea to means going beyond the search engines and delving into the fine details that otherwise are easily missed. A writer should be able to navigate open source networks, fill out a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and track down sources who would be willing to give an interview. After all the little details that are weaved in a story make it compelling.

Freedom of Information Act or FOIA could be especially useful to writers who are investigating a single topic and require government documents to backup the storyline. It’s worth noting; however, that FOIA request could take up to several months to approve. One way to save yourself some time is to search around their database and see if someone else might have requested similar report as you. It’s a starting point.

Another particularly helpful website that I find interesting is Library of Congress. It’s wonderful. You can spent countless hours searching it vast catalog of audio files, books and magazines.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. If you’re looking beyond the search of government reports, check out the international and special format collection.

If your book takes place in another country, aka outside of the United States, and you need a starting point – look into the CIA World Factbook. The website lists virtually every country in the world. The information is broken down in categories such as geography, people and society, economy, military and issues. It’s easy to navigate. That should give you a general idea of facts about the country you want your plot to take action at.

Research is a one of the fundamental blocks of writing a successful book. Readers should always learn something knew from your pages, not only get inspired. There are many more websites out there that you could use in your quest for information. Share your best suggestions with me on Twitter or drop me a line on my website.