Research Skills for Fiction Writers | 2023 Webinar

research skills for fiction writers

When: October 15, 2023 | 11AM – 6:30PM Eastern – (convert to your time zone)
Can’t make the live webinar? Register to get the recording after
Where: Online — Zoom Classroom
Price: $75 – $100
Scholarships Are Available!

Writing great fiction often requires research. Whether you’re a writer who creates whole new worlds or futures, a writer who uses historical settings or events, or a writer crafting characters whose identities or cultures are very different from your own, you need to learn this skill.

Research makes for better stories, yet there are many writers who find it intimidating–especially if they’ve never been formally taught how to research or find they need help getting started on the process. Others worry it will be a never-ending slog full of time-sucking rabbit holes.

In this webinar, reference librarian Melody Steiner will walk you through the How Tos of research techniques, exploring ways research can be an engaging and exciting process for narrative creators. The course covers:

  • The Importance of Research for Creative Writers
  • Navigating libraries and resources
  • Finding and evaluating sources
  • Online research techniques and pitfalls
  • Synthesizing information
  • Information literacy
  • Organizational tools

and much more!

Writers will leave this webinar confident in their understanding of research techniques, how to integrate research into their narratives, and more comfortable navigating the resources available to them. 

Who Should Take This Webinar?

Writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — and all mediums — Prose, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Comics/Graphic Novels, Games — at any point in their career from newbie to professional. This class is designed for writers who’ve had little to no formal training in research techniques.


All Times Eastern (convert to your time zone)

Session 1: 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Session 2: 11:50 PM – 12:35 PM
Session 3: 12:40 PM – 1:25 PM

Lunch Break: 1:25 PM – 2:25 PM

Session 4: 2:25 PM – 3:10 PM
Session 5: 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM
Session 6: 4:05 PM – 4:50 PM
Session 7: 4:55 PM – 5:40 PM
Session 8: 5:45 PM – 6:30 PM

Schedule is subject to change.


We will use Zoom’s internal cloud recording tool to record this webinar. All students who register will get a copy of this recording. If you can’t make the live webinar, you can register to get just the recording afterwards.

This is a raw recording, meaning you’ll see the full webinar, including lectures, exercises, and questions from students in attendance. The recording will not be chapter marked or edited.

The video will be available for all students to download for a month after we send the link.


Zoom meetings software is compatible with standard screen readers and has several other accessibility features that make it possible for writers who are Blind or vision impaired to participate in the webinar. Questions will be submitted via the chat function.

Live closed captions will be available, auto-generated by The final version of the recorded webinar will have auto-generated closed captions available. Note: the accuracy of these captions varies, and for live webinars we do not edit them.

Technical Requirements

Zoom video conferencing works on computers, tablets, and most smartphones. We suggest you access the live webinar via a computer for the best experience. Before enrolling in class, make sure your computer or mobile device is compatible with Zoom. Before class, load the app on your system and join this test meeting.

A webcam/video camera is not necessary for class because students won’t be on video. The Q&A will be text-only. You can call in via phone if audio isn’t working through your computer.

Scholarship Opportunities

We have full and partial Vonda N. McIntyre Sentient Squid Scholarships available for this webinar. If you do not have the financial means to pay for all or part of the registration cost, we encourage you to apply. We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class.

We especially encourage writers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply. Wherever you exist on the financial needs spectrum, don’t self reject! (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.)

Our scholarships are available to any writer regardless of background or identity. We set aside a portion of scholarships specifically for students who identify under the POC, BIPOC, or BAME umbrellas as well as for Palestinian writers/writers of Palestinian heritage, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we give to marginalized authors.

If you can afford to pay for part but not all of the registration fee, please apply for a partial scholarship. Under this financial aid plan you can let us know the amount you can afford. If you cannot afford to pay at all, please apply for a full scholarship. 

To apply, please fill out this form by 11:59PM Pacific September 29. You’ll be asked to provide:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of a work or works in progress that you hope the webinar will help you research.
  • If you identify as POC, BIPOC, BAME, or Palestinian, you may indicate that if you wish.

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific September 29We will notify all applicants of their standing two weeks before class begins. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Refund Policy

We are not offering refunds for this webinar. If you purchase a ticket for the live session and are unable to make it, you will still get access to the recording and resources.

Register Below

If you have a Gift Card, discount, or code to access tickets, please enter it into the “Promo Code” field at the top of the Registration box below and click Apply before you begin the process. If the whole box below gives you trouble, click here to register on our Eventbrite page.