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Why do I need to do research? A sixteen year old in Florida is the same as a sixteen year old in California is the same as a sixteen year old in Japan is the same as a sixteen year old in India. A bar in Florida is the same as a bar in California is the same as a bar in Japan is the same as a bar in India. A sixteen year old working in a bar in Florida is the same as a sixteen year old working in a bar in India. I can use my own experience of working in a bar as a sixteen year old and set the story in India without going there to do research?
The purpose of research is authenticity. It also feeds your world creation.
You can use your own experience and inventiveness and set the story in India. Especially if your sixteen year old will have similar experiences to your own or faces the same problems that you had to face.
But there are differences that could make the Florida vs India stories very different and each story interesting in it's own right.
For example, it's illegal to drink and work in a bar in Florida when you're sixteen, so an unusual set of circumstances would cause that to come about. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some Indian states where it's not illegal. Where it is, it's not as strictly enforced, you don't have your ID checked and it's much more culturally frowned upon, especially for a girl.
For example, it's not as unusual for a sixteen year old in Florida to have her own car as it is for a sixteen year old in India.
So the answer is yes and yes. Yes you can do it without research and yes research will likely help. But it very much depends on the story you're trying to write, the particular set of experiences and events you're trying to transport.
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