Today’s research…

I consider research a vital part of the writing process. While much of my work ties into my own knowledge, I will happily admit, I don’t have firsthand experience with the effects of depressants and ‘club drugs’, and put my time into researching what doses of which combinations guarantee lethal side-effects. So I do my research, reading and talking with people who have the answers. Accuracy is vital. True, this may be fiction, and at times I may drop a building location into what in reality is a vacant lot, but other than that, I check and double-check every detail. If my characters stop at White Castle at 3am, I can assure you, I’ve already checked it is, indeed, open 24hrs. If I state a specific diesel can be disconnected from all electrical power and still run, I already know this engine doesn’t have an electronically regulated fuel pump. You won’t see my characters putting friends in the back seat of their Viper, checking the spark plugs on a diesel, or driving a 78 Fairlane around NJ. I’ve read every one of these and more, some written by big name best-selling authors, and each time I cringe. True, many readers may not notice or realize. When I read a medical or legal thriller, all the inner workings stuff goes right over my head. But I read on, figuring the writer must know what they’re talking about. But when I stumble over some glaring error, it’s distracting and lowers the credibility of everything else on the page.

So, friends, what novel mistakes have made you laugh (or cry)?

3 thoughts on “Today’s research…

  1. Oh boy, I can finally vent about one of my pet peeves, an author wasting my valuable reading time with sloppy and inaccurate writing. I resent glaring errors I encounter, and I’ve found quite a few. One that comes to mind is in a VERY successful book written by a VERY well known woman author. Her heroine is dissatisfied with her life so instead of going for groceries she drives to NYC, she lives in the Midwest by the way (some detour). She arrives in NYC, parks on the street, gets an apartment, huh! starts a successful career, yeah even better! after a few years in NY decides to go home for a visit so she goes DOWN TO HER CAR, which has not been mentioned since she arrived and parked it, give me a break…the car would have been towed or stripped the first night on the street, and she returns to HER HOUSE. I am suffering from reality gap here folks. I live in a house and the utility companies want my check every month, pipes freeze and burst, houses don’t like to be empty. But our girl doesn’t let that fact get in her way. I can’t tell you any more of the story because I stopped reading and discarded the book. Authors take note; if you don’t use your time getting the facts right I won’t use MY time reading your book…..There I feel better now…Thanks!

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