Are you doing all the research for your book online? Chances are you’re getting information which is either incomplete, or totally wrong.
Please do some real research. Fire a gun. Ride a horse. Get into a balloon, and take a short flight.
This wonderful article, Bacon, Booze and Books: What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank | David Gaughran, made me giggle:
“â€¦ did you know that the internet can be wrong? Itâ€™s often wrong, in fact, if you are looking in the wrong places. Itâ€™s difficult to tell who is writing the information. While researching my book, I had people share their favorite links on various topics. One of them? After some digging, was written by a group of junior high students as a class project. Most people just look at content, when they should be looking at source.”
Krista’s right about boiling pig fat. I’ve done it too, and it’s a messy, smelly process.
No one’s suggesting that you grab a pig carcase and have at it, but it couldn’t hurt, especially if you care about what you write.
Nothing annoys me more, for example, than reading an historical novel, and reading that the hero and heroine galloped everywhere. They gallop for hours. Nonsense. Even a short gallop of a couple of minutes takes a lot out of a horse. Their horses would be dead, and so would they, because tired horses trip and go down. Nasty things happen to riders when they do.
It’s hard to get every little thing about your book right. You will make mistakes. I remember reading a book from a very famous, bestselling author. The hero drove along a particular road in Sydney. I know that road, and what he wrote couldn’t happen. It spoiled the book for me, because I was instantly dragged out of the book, and couldn’t get back into it.
Accept that you’ll make mistakes. They’re inevitable. However, being aware of research — and doing it — will make you a better writer.
Tip: be aware of continuity mistakes, as well as general mistakes. If your heroine is wearing boots in a scene, and then you mention that she’s barefoot as she flees into the night, either forget the boots entirely, or show her removing them.
Remember to create a timeline, and enter the events of your novel onto the timeline. Be aware of weather, days of the week, etc. It makes a difference.