While we can all agree, research is an intricate part of writing, but too much can hurt one’s writing. Ever read a book and while the author explains some of the more obscure facts or items, they forget to explain all of them? For instance, say you are reading a book that involves deep knowledge of martial arts. They explain in detail the different movements, but don’t explain what a Dojo is or the difference between Taekwondo and Aikido. They continue talking about the movements involved, but not explaining certain moves belong with Taekwondo or Aikido. To a person who does not know the difference this can be confusing. (http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/martial-arts-styles) (The featured image above is Aikido, and below is Taekondo). While Dojo can easily be figured out from the context surrounding it, the different movements or clothes worn, cannot be differentiated by someone who does not already have an understanding of the arts.
You might be saying, well if they don’t know the difference why are they reading the book in the first place? It doesn’t have to be a major topic in the book it could be anything. I may not be explaining this correctly, think of how Americans call potato chips, chips; but British call them crisps and french fries are chips. For someone who is not acquainted with this knowledge is going to be confused as to what the author is talking about if it is not explained. I think this is a result of too much research.
We get so caught up in the research and writing, that we forget others may not know what we mean. I understand that it is done in accident but how does one know when to stop researching? This is a reason we need editors and beta readers. They can tell us when there is not enough research done or an explanation given. However, when we are researching our chosen topics, we get lost in the facts and become hungry for the totality of knowledge so we don’t under research.
In a previous post, I have spoke of the amount of research I am doing for my WWII historical-fiction piece, The Price of War, and it is driving me insane. I feel like I don’t have enough research to cover the few elements I need, but at the same time I look at the pages of notes that I have and think I over did it.