Thursday, 4 September 2008

Getting it Right - Doing the Research

The advice we always hear is Write what you Know, and this is sound advice for it is always easier to write from our own experience. But sometimes we want to write about something we don’t know anything about and that is when we need to do our research.

Take a look at this post on the Behler blog which gives a publishers take on this subject, and from a readers perspective I couldn’t agree more.

There’s nothing more irritating than absorbing myself into a story only to be brought up short by an erroneous fact. I recently read a story where someone was playing pub skittles and knocked down all ten pins. That takes some doing as pub skittles only has nine. Now a little bit of research and the author could have got this right. As it was only the first of several similar errors I think it just shows laziness on the author’s part.

I really enjoy doing research for a story. I’ve delved into subjects I would probably never have otherwise known anything about. And even if I only use a fraction of my research in a story it’s never time wasted – I’m amazed how much I don’t know, particularly about some periods of history.

Some of the more interesting subjects I’ve researched recently include the history of radar, the Treaty of Wedmore, the Mayerling Incident and 19th Century printing presses. But the subject I’m reading everything I can find on at the moment is the Apollo missions and in particular, what they left behind on the surface of the moon. No prizes for guessing what that one’s for!

Who knows where my research is going to take me to next – I can’t wait to find out!

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