How Much is Too Much
Honestly, you can never do too much research. The more you know the better you can craft your story and imbue it with a depth of understanding which will come through in your narrative and dialogue.
An important fact to keep in mind though, is you will actually only use a small portion of the information you collect. This doesn’t mean that all your hard work has been a waste of time. It is indicative of the fact you have done an excellent job of researching your subject(s). Keep all your notes in a file to refer to while you craft your story. You may find there are places in the flow of the plot where you need to flesh out certain points or develop a secondary character more fully. Delve into your research files and find the information you require to do just that.
You may find there are sub plots which run parallel to your main story which can be broadened and enlarged upon to create spin off stories or to continue in other books in a series. Once again, the initial research you have done will prove invaluable. Information which did not fit into your original manuscript can play an integral part in the plot of further stories involving the characters created in the inaugural plot. It is often surprising how a bit of information gleaned during your research which has no real bearing on the work in progress will often provide the germ of an idea for a truly amazing novel.
In Part Four, I will discuss how to incorporate your mountain of information into your manuscript without sounding like you are spewing an encyclopedia at your reader. Nothing turns off readers quicker than an information dump, especially in Middle Grade and Young Adult genres. Part Four posts at 3:00 PM See you then!