The Devil is in the Details. You may have heard this countless times over the course of your life or career. Writers find that this is especially accurate. How many times have you read something and thought to yourself, that isn’t right… More importantly, how many times have you written something, and had someone else tell you that isn’t right.
Small factual inconsistencies can make or break the work you’ve spent countless hours on. You want it to be perfect, but perhaps there’s one minor detail that could have been tweaked but you didn’t know that detail was inconsistent at the time you wrote it. This is why we as writers have technical advisors.
Case in point: I recently wrote a story where I had a military vehicle on four flat tires. I had no idea that this particular vehicle possessed technology called Run-Flat Tires. The tires, quite literally, could not be flat, or at least not in the way I had written it.
I sent my story to Military Technical Advisor James Jackson for some quick editing, and he spotted the inconsistency with the tires (as well as some others) immediately. Now it may not sound like much, but remember: The Devil is in the Details, and had I not submitted my work to Mr. Jackson prior to publishing, my error would have been out there for all to see, and someone may have given it a negative rating for the issue. Other discrepancies and contradictions resided abound in my perfect story, all caught by James Jackson, who offered substitutions and corrections where necessary.
James Jackson’s military knowledge, experience, and expertise did more than correct small errors, these attributes made my story better.
During the time James has worked with me on various writing endeavors, I have learned quite a bit about the military aspects of my own works. Everything from military jargon, to outdated or incorrect vehicle types, to weapons management, James was there for me and assisted me at every turn.
I hold James Jackson’s expertise and professionalism in the highest regard, and recommend that any writer who has a military or survival aspect that is integral to their work, submit said work to James Jackson for editing prior to an attempt at publication.
Author of The Run! series and the Chaos Theory series.
“In my zombie novel THE KILLING FLOOR, the U.S. military comes home from overseas deployments to take back its own country, fighting the Infected in the streets in a series of bloody, horrifying engagements that make the Battle of Yonkers (WWZ) look like a picnic. It was vital to me to make the military aspects as accurate as possible to tell the most compelling story. The Ward Room and James Jackson was an invaluable support to me. He reviewed my novel, provided comments and even made suggestions on little details that helped make the narrative come alive. It was overall a great value to me as a writer.”
-Craig DiLouie, author of THE INFECTION, THE KILLING FLOOR, TOOTH AND NAIL, THE RETREAT and SUFFER THE CHILDREN
James Jackson and The Ward Room is my go-to resource for any military or firearm related information. James gets the details right down to every nut and bolt, and being an author himself, he knows the importance of accurate information. On numerous occasions, I’ve had him look over a piece of my work to verify the detail…and he made recommendations that the military personnel in my story would have actually used something else in the real world—which turned out to be a lot more badass than what I currently had– so I was able to tweak the scene to make it accurate, and more exciting to read due to his comments. James knows his stuff, and for technical detail, there’s nowhere better than The Ward Room.
-Kevin Walsh, author of THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
While writing my Ashley Parker trilogy (Plague Town, Plague Nation, Plague World) I needed to incorporate realistic military elements into the books, running the gamut from weaponry, transportation and tactics. James Jackson and The Ward Room have been invaluable to me during this process, providing succinct answers in “user friendly'” language. I can’t recommend this site or J. Jackson highly enough!
-Dana Fredsti, Author of:
PLAGUE NATION: An Ashley Parker Novel (Titan Books, April 9, 2013)
PLAGUE TOWN: An Ashley Parker Novel (Titan Books, April 2012)
MURDER FOR HIRE: The Peruvian Pigeon (James A. Rock Inc, Yellowback Mysteries Imprint)
Member, Sisters in Crime (National & NorCal Chapters)http://about.me/DanaFredsti
“There’s no doubt in my mind that The Ward Room is worth it’s weight in gold to anyone producing apocalyptic fiction or any kind of fiction. Let’s be honest here people, Google searches will only get you so far. If you need information about: weaponry (like say the fire rate of an M134 minigun), survival techniques (is it okay to wipe with that, or is that Poison Oak?), military tactics (how many shooters would it realistically take to assault that horde of Mad Max style raiders down there?), you need to hit up The Ward Room. Web searches are fine and dandy, but there’s no substitute for speaking directly with someone who’s “Been there, done that”. Needless to say, if you have tactical/survival themed questions The Ward Room is the place to pose them and get the correct answer without having some clueless schmuck in camouflage trying to sell you his ‘next big thing’. Nuff said!!!”
-S.P. Durnin, Author of Keep Your Crowbar Handy