There is a reason why writers need to research when they write. They don’t know everything. It’s impossible to know every situation and to write about it correctly, or factually. We’re not talking science fiction here, or fantasy. You can get by with some discrepancies in those genres. However, most fiction and such, you need the facts to be accurate.
Case in point. My father started reading ‘The Wettest County in the World’ by Matt Bondurant. Clearly, this man has not done his research, and both my father and I found it in the very first chapter, almost on the first page. Mr. Bondurant is describing a boy helping slaughter a pig. Now, for those of you who do not know me, which most of you don’t, I have helped slaughter pigs. Quite a few actually, so I could write about it confidently, and accurately.
Mr. Bondurant made a mistake by stating that a bolt-action, 22 rifle shot, fired into a sow’s eye from a foot away, would not kill it. Nor would the next two shots into the head of the pig. (for those of you interested, the book goes into too much gory detail for my tastes, and I’ve done the slaughtering.) I’m sorry, but one shot, right into the head of a pig usually drops it. I’ve seen it with a rifle and a pistol. Several times. Sure, there was one time my father aimed a bit low, and it hit more in the sinus area. The pig didn’t go down but the next shot took care of that.
These are aspects that are crucial for a story to be realistic. I’m not sure where Mr. Bondurant has come up with this idea, but clearly he didn’t do any research. What, the pig had an iron plate in her head? Considering the amount of blood mentioned, that wasn’t the case.
Did I mention the book starts off a bit bloody? I’ll mention it again. Just so you all know.
I’ve read other books where grammar was bad, and I didn’t stay with the author. I’ve read some pretty ridiculous fiction in my time. But most of the time the facts are fairly accurate.
Writers need to fact check. They need to make sure they know what the heck they are talking about before just sitting down to type. I’ve seen so many out there that don’t fact check. The other day I had some feedback from a short story I wrote about an architect. Now, I don’t know much about architecture, but I kept it fairly basic and as true to what I know from looking at magazines and reading books. The feedback was from an architect himself who said I had the feel down exactly for how an architect would be.
So, even though I don’t know a lot about that world, I did do some basic research, and since I don’t know that much about that world, I didn’t go crazy and try to describe it.
If you have never been up in a rocket, don’t just start describing it. Talk to an astronaut. Never ridden a horse? Ride one. Talk to people who ride them. Research. And then keep researching.
Has anyone else ever found a book that wasn’t researched properly? Do you like to research?