Wish They Wouldn’t: Over Research


Wish They Would/Wouldn’t Wednesday is my new feature where I talk about things I wish authors would or wouldn’t do. This week’s topic is: Wish They Wouldn’t: Over Research.

I’m not even going to pretend that I know all the hard work that goes into writing a book. Especially when trying to be accurate and authentic within specialized genres like historical fiction or something science-related, justice system-related, etc. A lot of research needs to go into making these stories feel real for the reader.

However, there are often times that I feel things get OVER researched. Like the author has done so much research that he/she can’t help but use it. It often does nothing for me in terms of enhancing a story. Sometimes it even feels like the author is flaunting his/her intelligence on the subject, taking away from the actual characters and their story.

Some examples:


Partials by Dan Wells.

It’s been awhile since I read this book (I still haven’t made it to Ruins yet), but what I remember the most was that it seemed soooo much longer than  it needed to be. And Kyra’s scientific research became way too detailed for me. I really have no idea if Wells did lots of Scientific research, if he’s just really smart, or if he made everything about it up. But how it came across to me was, “Look how smart I am, while I bore you for pages and pages and forget about the rest of the story.”  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the rest of the story or his writing. The science was just too much.


Undetected by Dee Henderson

The submarine description, Naval procedures, and science took up way too much time in this book. It made the book way too long and bogged down. I think it also really took away focus from the characters and their development.

The First Phone Call from Heaven

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Ablom

I still am scratching my head over the inclusion of the history of the telephone in this book. This is a perfect example of over researching a subject and including it in a book when it really does absolutely nothing at all to advance or add to the plot.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Are there other books you think are Over Researched?



5 thoughts on “Wish They Wouldn’t: Over Research

  1. I agree that research needs to be done, but I have never personally had this problem, maybe a little with Angels and Demons, there was a lot of science that went over my head and I have a degree in science. I have seen the opposite though, where you want more explanation. Nice post 🙂

    • Thanks! Maybe part of my problem with this is that I’m so not a “description person” either. I want character development and good plot and I could care less what clothes they’re wearing or what their house looks like. I haven’t read Angels and Demons yet, but it sounds like the science would be way too much for me haha.

      • I do like descriptions, but at the start of the book, not too bothered halfway through, I still want a little, but not quite as much, I have to say, when I am engrossed I often skip descriptions and only read the conversations, it’s where you get all the answers. It was a long time ago that I read Angels and Demons, so I may be remembering it wrong. It was only at the start as well.

  2. I have read the first 2 books in your posting and I completely agree. It took me forever to get through Partials and I haven’t read Ruins yet either. I needed to take some time. I couldn’t finish Undetected. I have been disappointed in Dee’s recent books. Her characters don’t feel real to me nor do their interactions with each other. The detail was way too much and completely unnecessary in both books. It slows the pacing of the story and makes it boring. Atleast for me it does.

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