Thursday, July 26, 2007

How Do Writer's Become Topic Experts

Getting in tune with the universe you want to write about is critical to being believed, but you really shouldn't become a heroine addict, just to get the lifestyle down pat. Anyone writing about current times, or the past, must do their research to avoid ridicule by readers; but you can be successful, within an acceptable margin of error, by reading what others have written about the subject, life style, or locations. Or you could do what I do and place your story in the future and invent your own history.

It certainly is a challenging endeavor to get close enough to lives portrayed in a story to be believable, if you haven’t been through it yourself. One way to gain insight without actually doing the backbreaking work is to talk to those who have. I suggest you do your family’s genealogy. Interview all the older folks you can, especially those closest to you and your parents. They will be the most forthcoming with a meaningful discussion. When they mention they use to be a typesetter on a local newspaper to earn money after high school, pursue that topic, and ask the detailed questions that give you information that you would have to otherwise get your fingers burnt to find out about. Write down these golden nuggets of information for future reference. Compile a glossary of “How it’s done” terms. This is also a good way to prevent future writer’s block. When you wander through your notes, visions of these people pop to mind and inspire fresh ideas.
You don’t have to believe in reincarnation or better yet, be able to remember all your past lives to gain this uber-knowledge, beyond your actual experience; but you can hedge your bets with good old fashion forensic approach to the subject and become an topic expert.

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