Sixth Form Lecture: Dr David Davies on ‘How to Research for both Fact and Fiction’.
Friday 30th November 2018
On Friday 23 November, our Sixth Form students were joined by award winning historical fiction writer and naval historian Dr David Davies, for lecture on ‘How to Research for both Fact and Fiction’.
Dr Davies published his first book in 1991, and has had many more published since. His most famous publications include Pepys’s Navy, which was awarded the Samuel Pepys prize and Latham medal in 2009, and his series of novels centered on the adventures of Captain Matthew Quinton, a seventeenth century naval captain.
Throughout his lecture, Dr Davies gave some useful tips for writing both fiction and non-fiction.
Firstly, Dr Davies explained the importance of the well-known saying: “Do your homework!”
He told our students that, whatever you decide to write about, you always need to know more than your audience does. If you plan to write a text set in a certain location, go there! Experience it yourself so that you can describe it first hand, and convey the true feel of the location.
However, he also explained that you should not do so much research that you never get around to writing! Give yourself a time to stop researching and start writing your text. If you need to make changes further on, be prepared to do so.
Dr Davies also discussed the importance of structure, and character creation and development, as well as the importance of not avoiding criticism. Criticism may be seen as negative at first, but there is always something to take from it and include your work.
Many of our L6 students will be thinking about starting their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), and Dr Davies had some tips in regards to this also:
• Plan your structure well.
• Know when you have enough facts, and when to start writing.
• Always write for an audience; get somebody else to read your work and see if they can understand your points.
• Be flexible and prepared to modify your work if something suddenly comes to you.
• Read your work aloud to see if it actually sounds like it makes sense.
Our Sixth Form students found Dr David Davies’ lecture extremely useful. Here are some of their thoughts:
“It was a very useful lecture, especially as many of us are thinking about writing our EPQ’s soon. It was great to have advice from someone who has lots of experience of writing, on how to research and write about something you’re passionate about.” – Kerrie F (L6)
“It was interesting to learn more about historical academic and fiction novels. I found it really useful to hear David’s advice about the fundamental rules of writing, which made how to go about my writing in the future a lot easier!” – Lucy E (L6)
A big thank you to Dr Davies for delivering this Sixth Form lecture. It certainly helped our girls in preparation for their EPQ’s and other exciting projects in the future.