If you’re writing historical fiction, the last thing you want to end up doing is making a fool of yourself by being inaccurate about anything; but authors of any genre need to do their fair share of research, even fantasy authors like myself. I developed quite an interest in tall sailing ships when I was looking to design a ship of HMS Victory’s size with faster manoeuvring capabilities for my fantasy setting, and therefore found myself trying to find out as much as possible about how ships of the 16th-18th centuries functioned, be it manoeuvrability, firepower, watch-keeping, sail-setting, the lot.
Trying to find exact details can be extremely time-consuming, even when searching online, so there will be times when you’ll have to make logical guesses, but the more you learn and know about a subject the more clarity your writing will have. If, like me, you write or wish to write about tall ships, there are a few ways you can do your research: the internet (though it may sometimes take a good while to find a good, strong tidbit of the information you’re looking for), books, seafarers, and hands on experience. How does one get hands on experience?