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Writing Mistakes: Not Doing Enough Research

They say to "write what you know", but when it comes to writing fiction, what you know simply isn't enough! When I write, I like to sort of write from the gut. I put down on paper whatever comes into my head, and the stories that come out are--in my humble opinion--pretty epic. When it comes to world-building, I just sort of "wing it". Sadly, that often lets me down. See, my area of expertise is in the creation of story lines and plots, but it's often the little details that trip me up. Here are a few things that have given me pause in my last book:
  • What sanitation system does the city use?
  • What type of armor is easy to move in, but offers good protection as well as silence?
  • Will iron break when hitting another piece of iron?
  • If merchants rule a city, what type of armed forces would they hire to serve as city guards?
All of these things are pretty small, but if I didn't find out the answers to these questions, I could end up writing a world that was COMPLETELY unbelievable. When it comes to writing, one of the worst mistakes you can make it not doing enough research. Gardeners and architects alike, take heed: research will save your life! Fight scenes can often be pretty tough for people to write, particularly if they are trying to write believable scenes (Matrix mixed with comic book-style fights just don't really work). I've had to turn to an expert for help, a friend who actually competes in Long Sword tournaments around the world. Combining that with my experience in martial arts helps me to write believable fight scenes. Of course, there are so many things that I have to research for the rest of the story. And that's where the "work" part of being a writer comes into play. If you want to write a believable story that people can identify with, you need to do your research to ensure that you are getting the facts right!