As a writer, I think that research is immensely important.
You need to know the world you are writing about, otherwise you will run the risk of inaccuracies and flaws, which may annoy your readers. So don’t take anything for granted… if you’re unsure on something you’re writing about (i.e. the rankings of the British Army), then make sure that you look into it and get it right!
My first book was set in the fifties (forty years before I was born), so I did a lot of research for it! I wanted to paint an accurate picture of the time period, so I read books and looked online about it, making sure that every little detail was accurate. What did people eat? What did they do in their spare time? What sort of clothes did they wear? All of these questions were relevant and allowed me to progress with the story.
My second book, on the other hand, required very little research because it was heavily based on personal experiences. For these sorts of projects, the ones that you’ve lived through or experienced through the eyes of others, you don’t have to worry as much about research because you already know everything that you want to convey. However, it’s still good to check that you’ve got things right.
As for my latest project, set in a fantasy world, I thought that a lot of research would be required. However, I soon came to the realisation that my world has its own rules, so I’m not bound to issues of accuracy! Of course, research is helpful if you’re looking for ideas or elements to base your fantasy world on, but for the most part, you have free rein.
The most important tip from this post is to research what you’re unsure about. Don’t just blag something and think you’ll get away with it because there’ll be people out there who will know that you’ve got it wrong! So do your research and have fun with your writing!