I haven't been writing a whole lot, lately. But I have been reading. As a matter of fact, I've been delving into some historicals that I had laying around, waiting for my time and attention span to slow down a bit. Although I'm not sure either of those things happened, I did manage to finish a book or two.
One story left me wondering: How do other writers figure out what research to use and which to discard?
I have my own somewhat haphazard method. If it fits and is necessary to add flavor, tension, enhance the romance, and/or explain something in the story, then use it. If it comes off like the characters are writing a history text, let it go.
But there is still a fine line to tread and I think the end result is highly subjective. Some might say my hero rambling about the history of Ireland should have been cut. I, however, felt it needed to be included so the reader could connect with the setting AND the hero. He loves his homeland, his people and their history. He's proud of the roots that have bound him to the rocky, harsh soil that is the western coast. It also allowed the heroine to begin that fateful journey of falling in love.
In retrospect, I could have done it differently. But most writers get that feeling now and then once the story is done. The thing is, you write the best way you can 'at the moment' and hopefully grow enough by the next story to do things *right*. Or at least differently.