Monday, April 7, 2008

Calling In the Expert

By Marcia Mickelson

Even when writing fiction, there is an extensive amount of research that you must do. It all depends on the subject matter. If there is something you're not familiar with, then you must research it so you get it right in the book. We are so lucky to have the Internet--answers within seconds at our fingertips.

The manuscript I'm working on right now has a college basketball theme. While I know a fair amount about sports, I am no expert. I did a little research and also pulled information from my own knowledge. Lucky for me, I was able to call in the expert--my husband.

He knows quite a bit about sports and amazingly picked all of the Final Four and the final two teams in March Madness this year. He finished reading my manuscript this weekend, and I'm impressed how quickly he can spot mistakes without a second thought. BYU doesn't play basketball on Fridays, and in my book I have BYU playing on a Friday night. He picked that out right away. I would have never known. In one game, I refer to the fourth quarter. College basketball has 2 halves, no quarters like NBA. I think I knew that one once upon a time, but had forgotten. He picked up on it right away. In another scene, I have the University of Utah playing a non-conference game toward the end of the season. Also, a no-no. So many little details. I guess I should have done a little more research, but I was relying on my expert. Thanks to my sports expert for picking out all those little discrepancies.

Now, it's time to go fix them. When writing, even the small details matter. Research, check, and double check all those little things. The last thing you want to do is turn off a reader who says: 'that can't happen.' Credibility is so important, even in fiction.


Rebecca Talley said...

Great post, Marcia.

I'm really enjoying your book :)

Tamster said...

Good point! It is nice you have Nolan! I'm sure he likes to feel a part of the process too! :-)