Sunday, September 26, 2021

Research, or at Least Have Smart Friends

First, Some Terrible Marketing

Oh, hey, I have a new book out in case you're interested! (The Chaos Connection)

And now, on to the topic!

What Do You Know?

There's an old adage that gets trotted out in writing circles: Write what you know.

That's a crock. Who would want to read about a woman who never leaves her house and used to write software for a living? Nobody, that's who.

(I am planning to rewrite and publish the science fiction series with a veterinarian as a main character next year, so there's that. But let's ignore that for the moment.)

However, some level of research ought to go into things.

Practice Makes Perfect

I write cozy mysteries and science fiction / fantasy / who-the-heck-knows-what-it-is-called-but-boy-I-wish-I-could-target-my-marketing-more-effectively.

Do I administer botulinum toxin to people so I know how that works? No, at least, not yet. But my search history could get me arrested. More importantly, when I had a character who needed to speak knowledgeably about canning vegetables, I ran that section by a friend to make sure I wasn't making laughable mistakes. (Thanks, Jennifer!)

The future veterinary series will have someone checking it over before it gets published, because I haven't practiced in over a decade. For other things, YouTube is not a bad resource if you need to learn how professionals do things, and how they talk about their craft.

Know Your Dough

And all of this is really a complaint about a historical cozy I just read, in which the main character (whose husband is one heartbeat away from being the earl, because of course he is) goes down to the manor kitchen to hang out with the staff and grill them about the recent murder. (Yeah, right...). This character enjoys baking, so she asks to knead the dough while they're talking.

And the cook passes over the bowl of risen dough. Lest you think that was a misplaced word, the character then proceeds to knead all the bubbles out of the dough.

* insert eyeroll gif here *

I didn't notice any typos in the book, which likely means multiple people went over the manuscript before it was published, and yet somehow none of them knew you knead the dough before it rises, not after.

I guess the problem lies in knowing what you don't know. I'm not sure how you get around that problem, other than having really smart beta readers and editors.

Fingers crossed I can avoid those sorts of mistakes...

Obligatory Pet Picture!

Alaskan Husky standing on blue bus bench, mouth open and staring upward
When is the bus coming?