Now where did I put that….?

“Always be sure you get your moon in the right part of the sky.”  — Herschel Brickell

Research.  Do it.  No arguments.

Seriously, does it drive anyone else nuts to be reading about something you know a little (or a lot) about and have it proved abundantly clear that the writer has done no research into the topic, figuring they can “slide by?”  It’s pure laziness, particularly in this age of instant information.  And sure as God made little green apples, SOMEONE out there will read your stuff and call you on it.  Not face to face, perhaps, but all you need is one reader telling another “This writer doesn’t know what s/he’s talking about” and your validity is shot.  Take the time to research.  Take the time to care.  Ask questions.  It’s amazing how many pros in a field are more than willing to talk about what it is they do, and they’ll take a little time to do it.  (And if you’re meeting them face-to-face, offer to buy them lunch or coffee.  And make sure you acknowledge them in your book/story — even if you DON’T end up using the information.  They were still willing to talk to you, and that means a lot.)

This also ties in to training yourself to be a good line editor and finding (if you’re lucky) someone to cast an additional eye onto your work.  It’s amazing what someone can catch that you’ve missed.  I know I experience becoming “too close” to the story — I’m intimately involved with the characters over a long period of time so I inherently “know” everything and sometimes read more into the manuscript than what I’ve actually written, forgetting that others don’t know as much as I do about it.  This is where a good editor/proofreader becomes invaluable.  (I remember back in high school, when I used to write stories with friends, having one of them point out to me that a particular character’s hair and eye color had changed from page to page!  And I never noticed it because I was so caught up in the process.)

Take time.  Care about what it is you do.

About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Connecticut, Darling Wendy, editing, fantasy, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Melissa Crandall, Research, Science fiction, Speculative Fiction, Writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Now where did I put that….?

  1. adonis49 says:

    Excellent suggestions. You could have given us a hint about that book and what did you find was incorrect or wrong.

    • I’m not sure what you mean about a “hint about that book.” Do you mean the random book where I found inconsistencies? There’s lots of them out there, but I don’t think it’s pertinent to name the book by title and/or author. I’ve no wish to embarrass any writer because accidents DO happen. (There ain’t no such thing as a perfect manuscript.) The point was to stress the need to not be lazy in your writing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s