Writing Tip

white-male-1871367_1280Finding More of the Real

If you can’t get first-hand experience with something, consult an expert on the subject in person  I find such an interview much more informative than just reading a book on a topic.

Because I got to know an alpaca farmer, I learned what a remarkable anaimals alpacas are.  Listening to people talk about their jobs piques my interest in a way that reading about the same jobs may not.

As an introvert, though, I find approaching strangers difficult, and that is made even more so when I want to consult them about something I wish to write about.  I am an  unpublished author.  Why would they want to talk to me?

I faced this dilemma when I realized I needed to talk to someone about police procedures for my book because I was basing my plot points on what I had seen on TV.  A retired police chief was a member of my church.  It seemed natural to ask him, but I did it with a hammering heart and dry mouth.

He couldn’t have been nicer.  He answered my questions for well over an hour.  I wanted to know how a police officer would break up a bar fight involving a large number of people.  I also asked about search warrants and surveillance.  Not only did I gain a ton of useful information for my book, making it much more authentic, but I also gained a huge appreciation for how complicated police work is.

Try to find experts when you need them.  Explain exactly what you need to know from them.  Most people enjoy sharing their expertise.  And if you find an expert who is unwilling, approach another one.  The knowledge you gain is worth the risk.  And you may make a friend in the process.


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