For any author, research plays a major part in their work. No matter if you’re writing science fiction, fantasy, horror or non-fiction, research always and I can’t stress it enough, always plays a role.
Some may ask how does research play a part in fantasy? Simple, in every fantasy there is always some ‘established’ mythos that some may use to further their work. For example: we all know about Frankenstein and most of us know the legend of the creature and about Victor Von Frankenstein. Dean Koontz, known for his horror/thriller novels, took a different look at the legend of Frankenstein and retold the story in such a way that some would admit was better than Mary Shelley’s version.
The issue I’m making is it doesn’t matter what you write, you need to do some due diligence when it comes to researching. If your project deals with something that takes place in a specific geographical area, like Paris, you should at least know some of the streets and locations and not just the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre.
If it takes place inside CONUS then make sure you place the Arizona Meteor Crater in Arizona, duh.
Moving on to the problem I’m getting at.
I recently read a novel by an author who has been compared to Tom Clancy. Not saying that Tom Clancy’s work is the best out there but he does have a name for himself in his genre. I’ve read most of this other author’s previous books and they were entertaining. However, (yeah you saw that coming). However, the book I read was full of some major errors.
For some, what I’m going to mention will mean nothing to them. For others they’ll read it and just shake their heads.
In the book, a military thriller, the author who shall remain unnamed, stated that the 3/75th Ranger Battalion is located at Fort Lewis, Washington.
That’s mistake #1.
Within a few chapters after this mistake, he talks about ‘MOLLIE’ gear(?)
Let’s look at the first problem.
3/75th Ranger Battalion is based at Fort Benning, Georgia not Fort Lewis. 2/75 is at Fort Lewis. And this mistake is coming from an author who specializes in the military thriller.
Mistake #2: wtf is MOLLIE gear? Could he be referring to MOLLE gear? MOLLE or Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment is what he was in all probability referencing. MOLLE has replaced ALCE which had been used forever or as one senior NCO stated, ‘ALCE has been used since Christ was a corporal’.
The point being, here is an author who specializes in the military action techno-thriller who can’t even get some simple things accurate. The dig on this is the author is a veteran and spent 17+ years in the big green machine so to me that gives him no excuse for this type of error.
Some of you may think that’s harsh.
OK, Google 2/75 ranger battalion and see what you come up with. You’ll see in mere seconds that the information needed to make that book more accurate is literally at your fingertips.
The major point being is that no one is immune from research. I don’t care if you feel the need to slap words on paper or bang your fingers on the keyboard until they bleed, you need to allocate sufficient time for research to make your work all that more believable. Consider the time spent on writing as the outline and the time spent on research as the depth or core of the story.
Not to point fingers at authors who have gone above and beyond when it comes to research, cough, cough Mira Grant, cough, Jessica Meigs, cough, Tony Monchinski, wheeze, cough, Craig DiLouie, but take a lesson from their work and then look at their reviews and ratings on Amazon before you rush out and publish what you feel to be the best thing ever written.
One final note to all you self publishers out there, if you do not put 100% into your work and that means, yeah you know I’m going to harp on this one, Research, then don’t expect the reviews and/or sales to be more than equal to a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.
And for God’s sake, edit and learn what paragraphs are before you hit the Publish button.