I wasn’t ever planning on writing this post, but after reading a chapter and editing it for someone, I feel it’s absolutely necessary. So, here we go.
WRITERS! YOU NEED TO DO YOUR RESEARCH!
Okay, whew! I said it. Here’s the thing. It’s okay to elaborate and to expand, and yes, to use hyperbole, but you have to know what it is you’re changing and you have to know why. This chapter that I recently read and edited had a twenty-something as a Major in the US who had enlisted at 18 and never went to OCS (that’s Officer Command School, in case you didn’t know). Once I figured out that this chapter was set in this day and age…I went, oh hell no!
Further down, the romantic interest of this “Major” spoke to him about an abusive relationship. Then there was no resolve or no…continuance of it. She just kind of put it out there and then everything was fine. Then they have sex? In my head I was going, nonononononoNO! Not after having THAT discussion.
Either way, it is the author’s story. But this person desperately needed to do their research.
Without the research for the basis, there are people like me going–this person has NO CLUE what they are talking about. While there are some things that can be overlooked in that aspect, others cannot. It changes the story, it changes whether or not readers will read and enjoy it, and it changes the characters. I want to focus on the second one there, whether or not readers will read and enjoy it. Honestly, if there are too many deviations from something, people will put it down. They’ll have no reason to continue to read it.
So…do your research. Please! I’m begging you.