First of all, apologies for not making my normal rounds of commenting recently. Since my holiday, I've had some work issues to deal with, we've been getting the kids back to school, and I've been generally adapting to the shift in routine (I'm a creature of habit, after all). I'm still getting back to all the commenters on my twisted version of Goldilocks - thank you, I'm overwhelmed by the response! - and I've picked up critiques again for my CPs. As I've begun my redraft of The Memory Cell, I've also been looking closely at the feedback I've had so far.
Now my book deals in part with amnesia, a subject of which I admittedly know very little other than what I have gleaned from online resources (and we all know we can never completely trust these). My CPs haven't said much about it, but maybe a professional in the area would if I sent them the book. But I wouldn't know how to go about such a thing, and they'd be far too busy to help me anyway, wouldn't they?
We've all seen books where the author thanks an exhaustive list of authorities and experts in their acknowledgements. I really admire this approach; it's rigorous and it's clear they've tried to make the book as watertight with facts as they can. My problem is that I tend to research on the fly; what I need to know, when I need to know it, and I can't wait to get back to the writing.
It's funny I should be this way considering I trained as a journalist. Everything had to be as evidence-based as possible. I've still got reams of tapes of all my interviews and notebooks full of shorthand. Not saying I didn't enjoy the process; it was the nature of the beast.
But now I've got no one to answer to (for the moment, anyway) and this is fiction, right? Suspension of disbelief, and all that? It's like the first time I lived on my own at the age of 23. With no one else to take into consideration, my flat quickly fell into horrifying disarray. Luckily my girlfriend (now wife, amazingly), pulled me back into line. Maybe I need that for my work. I'd hate for my book to lose credibility because I got things wrong, and it would only take one person to point it out.
I'm a bit nervous about admitting I'm a lazy researcher, but it's something I'll definitely work on. How about you? How far have you gone in the name of research? And do you think a great story and writing make up for the sin of not having your facts 100% straight?