Every book requires at least some research. Unless you are a CPA who likes to collect stamps and ride motorcycles and your book is about a biker CPA who just happens to collect stamps in her spare time, your book will require research.
Where to begin?
Well, it depends.
Is the information you are lacking more general – maybe it’s the location of your story? Are you writing a story that takes place in a small town, yet you have always lived in a large city? Depending upon your budget and resources, a long weekend trip to a small town nearby might just get you started. If cash is tight, head to the library and ask the librarian to help you pick out a few great novels that take place in small towns. Travel shows can shed a great deal of knowledge. As can travel magazines and travel books. Every town has a map of it somewhere.
Or are you wanting to use a more significant detail in your writing, but it is outside of your knowledge? Say your heroine is a sharp shooting ex-marine, if you have never discharged a weapon before, I’d highly recommend several visits to a gun range. When it comes to certain details that are inherent to your story, a good writer needs to be able to present the information in a manner that is utterly believable to their audience. Hands on experience can add that authenticity. Take a photography class to get into the head of your photojournalist. If your hero adopts a dog and you are a cat person, borrow a friend’s pooch for a couple days.
It’s the details that count. They can make or break a story. And when it comes to your baby, you want it to shine.
How do you research?