Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#IWSG - Don't let facts get in your way.

Alex J. Cavanaugh:
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You ever start writing about something and you're not sure if what you're putting on the paper is factual or not.

So, you open up a search page and start doing 'research' only to end up hours later neck deep in .pdf documents and YouTube how-to videos?


So, its just me?

I do this all the time. I'm writing about something cool like the police department or baking a seven layer wedding cake or driving a car and suddenly I have no idea what I'm talking about.

I figure I'll just go for a quick research stroll and find myself drowning in a sea of mis-information and archives on the history of gnomes without beards.

What have I gotten myself into?

I'm in over my head. If I don't know what I'm even talking about how are my readers supposed to believe a word that I say?

And now, I've lost my mojo. I can't write a freakin' thing cause I think I'm full of it and I know everyone else will think that too.

My point is, we should just write on.

We can always get the information we need when we're done. So many times I've freaked myself out for no reason. I should just mark the manuscript where I need more facts and just keep writing.

There will be plenty of time to 'fix' the questionable parts later.

I've also found that reaching out to other humans, in the fields that I'm interested in writing about, has been a positive experience. People like to talk about what they do. Mention that you're writing a book and they get even more interested.

Don't let facts get in your way.

Keep writing.


  1. Great advice! I gave up on my NaNo book on the first day partially because I hadn't done enough research, and when I actually started I felt like I was in over my head. It's not the only reason I gave up, but I really should have just written what was in my head and worried about the facts later.

  2. Just the facts, M'am.
    I research before and afterwards. Otherwise, I just muddle through the first draft and pray I'm at least close.

  3. It seems to be only in fiction that I worry about being factual; that's never a concern for me in Real Life. ;-) I feel your pain, Heather. Totes. And you're right; we just gotta write! :-)

  4. Great advice, as I mainly write poetry of people and events in my life not much to look up. However there have been times when I've written a fictional poem ....that's when I get stuck

    Enjoy your day.

  5. Am I in over my head...that could be my catchphrase. But it's all about attitude. Keep it up. You can do anything you've set your mind to. Happy writing.

  6. Yes, getting the info from someone in the flesh is ideal, and way much more fun. Might even get a free coffee and muffin out of the deal, LOL.

  7. It's fiction. Why worry about accuracy unless something inaccurate destroys the plot? I see inaccuracies in movies all the time.


  8. This has happened to me on several occasions. I ended up spending an entire day doing research when I should have been writing. Hope you get back into the writing soon. Wishing you the best.

  9. I almost always wait check my questions until I'm done. This is great advice.

  10. Definitely just keep writing! Make a note in the ms itself that you have to go back and do research or jot a note, start a list, etc. I ran into this same problem on the first day of NaNo - I had to make myself keep writing, just making up stuff for now as I went along.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  11. Great advice, if you believe you can do it your half way there.

  12. You know what they say: Don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

    I'm pretty bad about stopping to do research. The internet is a great tool, just not right in the middle of a paragraph.

  13. Cr-rack! Very well put! I get pretty lazy with my research when I'm just rough drafting, if its not easily visible on the first couple of google pages I just stay vague and note it for later :) its fiction anyway! Have fun and fine tune later

  14. The idea is worth putting down on paper, rough or not; then the research can begin about how a light was turned on in 1879, lit or whatever.

  15. I can get lost searching for something online. I can get lost just trying to find a location on Google Earth.

  16. I do that, too, except I usually do it before I move on, especially if I had to nix or change something that could change the course of the story.

    There is a bright side to research, though. Some of the best scenes (or parts of scenes) I've written have been inspired by things I read while researching. It's not uncommon for something humorous to get injected into a scene this way.

  17. Sarah – Exactly. I think we always worry too much. TY!

    Alex – I don’t plot/outline as much as you so I don’t know what to research until I’m neck deep. TY!

    Mina – We should just write! YES!

    Nashvillecats – Thanks for coming to visit today!

    S.L. – Well, I’m in over my head for many reasons, not just research. : ) TY!

    Feather – Yeah. I’ve had great feedback! TY!

    Janie – Well, I don’t want to write poor police procedure or describe something incorrectly. That’s all. TY!

    Murees – Yes! Exactly. I need someone behind me to smack me in the head!

    Susan – That would be the best option. TY!

    Madeline – It’s so hard, but that’s the way it should be done.

    Spacer Guy – Belief. That’s a tough concept for a writer. Thanks for coming.

    Jennifer – Yeah. The internet can suck us right into the void!

    sjp – Vague. I should try that! TY!

    Rohn – Yep. It’s the better option. I just have to remember it. : )

    L. Diane – Me too! I know. It’s like a vicious cycle!

    Melissa – I love doing the research. I just shouldn’t do it while I’m writing. : ) Thank you!

    Thanks for the visit everyone!

  18. I use those research strolls as a well-deserved break. Yes, I may have started looking up native flora and fauna of Lithuania, and I'm not sure how I got to Renee Zellwegger's Plastic Surgery Nightmare, but while I'm there, I might as well click onto Morgan Freeman Gives Birth to Alien Baby! :O

  19. That's good advice, though it's not something I've been able to do. I just can't write if I don't know what I'm talking about. I have to do research and fix whatever needs fixing before I move on to the next scene. My writing brain won't let me keep going until I do.


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