……Three French hens. Now it turns out that the French hens in question are actually Faverolles, a heavy breed of utility fowl which originated in north central France in the 1860s and are characterised by their beards and muffs. They are excellent layers and good meat chickens, but because of their docile natures are prone to being bullied. Thank you Wikipedia.
Here’s a picture of one that I took – in north-central France!
I’m telling you all of this to explain a little bit about the role that research plays in writing fiction. What I’ve done in the paragraph above is to overwhelm you with facts, but facts are heavy and dense and can weigh a narrative down when you actually want it to take flight. Facts can be interesting in themselves, but rarely contribute to the alchemy of good fiction. They need to be buried in the foundations of your story, underpinning of the architecture, but they shouldn’t intrude too much. In creative writing terms, if I were writing about three French hens, the most interesting detail from the trove of information I’ve uncovered is about their docility, which is something I would be able to show in my story, rather than telling as I would a straight fact.
The hard-core information should stay privy to you, it provides the tinder to set your imagination alight. The occasional evocative detail is something you can share with your reader, but don’t tell them everything, never do that, always keep them guessing, wanting to know more.