Tuesday, November 22
The Fact of the Matter
This week on WordWranglers we're talking about research. How, when, where you do it.
Anyone who knows me knows I hate to do research. I live in the middle of nowhere, and the two closest libraries are tiny without much to offer. If I do need a fact checked, I tend to use Google, which I hate. Yes, hate. For one thing, who knows if the sites are accurate? Anyone with an opinion can put up a site and claim anything. So then I go to the next site, then the next. I end up spending what should have been a simple fact check into an all day time suck.
As you know, I mostly write contemporary western suspense.
If I need to know something about cows or horses, I call my dad. He's an expert. Easy.
I also tend to stay in my comfort zone. I can write a million cowboy stories. Easy.
Awhile back I started two stories that weren't cowboy stories and they lasted about two chapters. The first one is about a woman who has a child with leukemia. To share bone marrow with the older child, she wants another baby with the father, who didn't know he had a first baby. Fine. All was well until I had to start checking leukemia facts. Ugh. I spent more time on fact checking than I did writing and that went to fun to chore real quick.
The second was about an Arizona border guard and an illegal sympathizer. Do you know that there are Arizonians who go out into the desert and leave water stations for the illegals crossing into the states? Neither did I. And I didn't know a whole bunch of other stuff that made me ditch that ms.
I recently started a new manuscript about a country music star. I've listened to country music most of my life. I have gone to a million concerts. Easy, right? Not so much. I wasn't halfway into the first chapter before I hit a factoid I wasn't sure about.
Lucky for me, a few CPs and others from writing loops know the stuff I don't. No Googling for me. I made it through that crisis without having to spend hours and day on the Internet looking to see if one small fact was correct.
I think I'll stick with what I know and love, cowboys! It makes me a happier writer.