I love a good bit of research to get me going with a book, whether it’s set in the present or the past, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, digging around for information is a great stimulus of the creative juices.  Things that I unearth can often help in the development of character and certainly can influence the course of a plot. Because I love research so much, I’m really sensitive to the danger of piling all the knowledge that I’ve rootled out into my story.  Including something because you’ve gone to the trouble to find out about it isn’t a good enough reason to run the risk of weighing down your narrative.

Just because I’ve made the cake, it doesn’t mean I have to eat it all;  it’s OK to have a slice and leave the rest in the tin for another time. It’s the same with facts which you’ve uncovered.  Use some of them, to give authority to your work, to make it credible and help to bring it to life, but for goodness sake don’t cram everything in as that’s more like bulimia than writing and won’t do you or your work in progress any good.