Just yesterday, I was scrolling down one of my social timelines, when a particular post jumped out at me. One my newest Facebook friends posted a status that read, “Every good writer should also be a good researcher.” And I couldn’t agree more. Here’s why.
I think we can all agree that before you do anything you must – Do. Your. RESEARCH! I can’t stress it enough. This little piece of advice can be applied to just about every aspect of life, but when it comes to filling in the details of your storyline, the need can be obvious – especially if you’re inspiration stems from another time period, culture, or country. In order for the story to make sense then it’s important these descriptions are accurate throughout. Not only could careless mistakes take away from your credibility as a writer, once readers pick up on the inconsistencies in your work, they won’t be afraid to point them out.
I believe this is why many authors suggest, “Write what you know.” And I get it. They figure if you lived it, then it might translate as authentic. However, I don’t think this has to limit your creativity. The freedom you are granted as a writer can be a beautiful thing, and I want to encourage everyone to take full advantage of it. I am simply suggesting that before you try to play doctor or private investigator, you do your job as a writer first. That if you are still inspired to delve into the unfamiliar, you take the time to make your story believable. Often times, the details are what make whatever world you create feel real and true-to-life. That need for an escape is what sucks readers in.
But not only does this helpful tidbit apply to details within your storyline the same can be said for business associates. Over the years, the internet has made it easier to hide people’s true intentions behind a computer screen. Unfortunately, some of those same people have decided to pose as book reviewers, literary agents, editors, and even publishers looking to steal your hard earned money right along with your dreams.
Social media has become a key player in the game of deception, and they have used it to take advantage of those who chose to skip this crucial step. That is why is it up to you to determine how many of these so-called literary professionals have credentials to back up their titles? How many years have they invested in the business? Who do they work for? What have they accomplished? How can they help you reach your goals? Once you ask yourself these questions, it shouldn’t take long to sort out a trumped up biography from an actual resume.
So when looking to take your work to the next level, realize that word of mouth only goes so far, and that when it comes to writing books, you can’t cheat the work. Before you commit to any partnership, seek testimonials. Ask for references on and off the web. Because even though, the internet provides a wealth of information, it’s up to you what to do with it.