The topic for this month's Round Robin: Research: How much do you do and does it bother you when you read something in a story that is inaccurate historically, socially, scientifically, etc.?
Ah, research. I loved doing research in high school, less so in college. Probably because I felt I had more interesting things to do with my evenings than be in the college library basement going through encyclopedias and Reader's… what was that called? Ah--The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. It was red.
Now with the Internet, things are a bit speedier and can certainly be more social, if less sure in their content. My second grade granddaughter had to do a research paper recently on the founders of Texas. No Internet allowed. Which is a good thing, but grandmother got to visit the local library for appropriate material. It's great to be a resource!
With my own research for my contemporary writing, I try to stick to what I know geographically. We visited Portland, Maine, and it is the setting for Ian's Image
. We took two train trips across Australia and I have my third person POV character, Fletcher, do the same. A friend of mine owned a marina on Lake Texoma, the main setting of the Bone Cold--Alive series. If I don't know the parts of something, like a cello, I've found that children's books are the best source. I don't usually need the details, just the basics.
Does it bother me when something is inaccurate in a book I'm reading? If it's egregious, yes. I love Regencies, and I usually go along with the story. They'd have to be using the telephone for me to balk! OTOH, don't have a Southern character ask if a guest wants a pop or a soft drink. In the South, we ask if a guest would like a Coke, and then sort out which kind when answered in the affirmative.
In general, I'm a generous reader, less forgiving of editing and poor spelling (and that includes traditional publishing) than historical or social inaccuracies. Basically, tell me a good story and I'm yours.
And I hope you feel the same about me and mine.
Now, if you'd like difference takes on research, please check out the links for my fellow Round Robin-ers:
Heidi M. Thomas