Oh yes folks, fantasy authors do research. To what degree depends on the author and the story they’re creating. I’m not going to go into the where, when or even the why scenario. I am sure there are others more qualified than I am to do so. I’m going to tackle how much to include in your manuscript. A tough question.
Have you ever considered how much research J. K. Rowling must have done for her Harry Potter series? Do you think she just had Latin phrases growing out of her ears? And all those fantastical creatures. Where did she find them? Research. Even when you invent something you have to do some research or, you base it on something you were once taught.
I my case, I have never played the flute, yet my heroine in my high fantasy is a gifted flutist. I have also never been or do I know any druids, yet one of my characters in my Phoenix novella is a druid. I had to learn about the flute and about druids. I also had to learn about maps and the process of mapping, about battles, especially the type fought in medieval times, I had to learn about clothing and that only mentions a few of the things.
So, how much do I include. Oh, this is the tough part. After spending hours, days and some authors even spend months doing my research, it boils down to one or two lines, or accurately describing clothes, or what personality would it take for a druid to break the rules. You get the point, and even then, you have to tweak what you write and edit it until you wonder why you did the research to begin with. The answer of course, is to layer your story with detail. Just not too much.
Did you research something foreign to you to create your story?