Could Researching My Book Get Me in Trouble?

author list murder researchI took a day trip with the freckle-faced girl recently to the United States. We live in Canada, a few miles from the border, so occasionally Costco’s ice cream or some other worthy endeavor calls to us. I’m in charge of the shopping cart duties and with some minor instruction I usually manage to fulfill my obligation. We have a Nexus pass that allows us to get into the fast lane when we cross. This makes the process easier, but, even with my youthful transgressions occurring many moons ago, and nary even a speeding ticket to my name in years, I still get a bit nervous when I reach that little window. I keep thinking there’s something that I’ve forgotten to mention, and the border guard will click his little mouse, and check his computer screen. His eyes will light up like a UFO saucer and I’ll have some explaining to do. Continue reading “Could Researching My Book Get Me in Trouble?”

Research: Keeping the Backstory in the Back

libraryRecently I stumbled across this post for Stephen King’s top 20 rules for writers. I can agree with most of them, and one in particular about research really struck a chord with me for a couple of reasons.

18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story. “Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.” Continue reading “Research: Keeping the Backstory in the Back”

Book Fact Checking: Who is Responsible?

magnifyingglassI used to assume that the books I read, especially nonfiction, especially those from big-name publishers in New York, had been fact-checked down to the type of boots the hikers were wearing, what brand of vodka the Serbian operative ordered at the bar, and the hotel where the narrator met the contact who broke the story open. But several sources indicate that most publishers do NOT routinely fact-check authors’ manuscripts. And that it has NEVER been a standard practice of book publishing, the way it has been in magazines and newspapers. Continue reading “Book Fact Checking: Who is Responsible?”

A Treasure Trove of Research Sources for Authors

Christine FrostGuest Post
by Christine Frost

I confess — I’m a digital hoarder. Spending many years in the academic world and being a historical fiction author, I’ve collected a tremendous amount of research. Over the years, I’ve taken notes from countless books to ensure I’m accurately portraying the historical figures, cuisine, and cultures I’m portraying in my writing. It’s easy to get swept up in taking notes. New ideas for the story come with each interesting detail.

There is a delicate balance in historical fiction. In order to be able to move comfortably within the realm of the story you’re creating, the scale of research needed can be huge. The risk for writers is spooling out endless facts in prose just because there were dozens of fascinating details that were discovered in research. While working on my second novel, set in medieval Ireland, I happened to find a book describing everyday life in rural areas. Soot houses dotting the Irish landscape may provide just the right touch of authenticity, but an expository paragraph on their construction and functionality bogs down the narrative and removes the reader from the story. Continue reading “A Treasure Trove of Research Sources for Authors”