“Research like a Pro” ONLINE with Sindya Bhanoo

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Fiction is, by definition, made up. But writing strong fiction, and certainly non-fiction, often requires a fair amount of research.

In this half-day class, we will discuss strategies that journalists use to do research and gather information for their stories. How much can be done by looking at images and documents on the Internet? Once you find a good source, what questions should you ask? What, exactly, are we on the lookout for anyway? How do you synthesize what you find? And when is it time to stop and just write?

When done effectively, incorporating research into your writing provides a lucidity that is palpable to readers. It invites them to parachute into the world of your characters, to time travel, to experience life in a brand new way. To believe. Research can also help you, the writer, cut to the heart of your story. This is a generative class. We will incorporate the strategies we discuss into several exercises. You will leave this class with some new tools and new ways of thinking about your work.



  • You’re writing fiction, short stories, and non-fiction.
  • You want to inject your work with details that will elevate your story.
  • You don’t know when and how to do research for your creative work. 


Sindya Bhanoo has worked as a reporter for The New York Times, where she was the longtime Observatory columnist, and The Washington Post, where she is still a frequent contributor.

She is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Michener Center for Writers, where she was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature in 2018 and 2019.

Her fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming in Glimmer TrainGrantaThe Masters Review and elsewhere. She was the 2020 winner of the DISQUIET Literary Prize and her work has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

Submitted by Lindsey Ferris. Email: wlt@writersleague.org Website: http://www.writersleague.org/calendar/ResearchBhanoo2020