Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Ms. Tonia Brown

Today, I have the lovely Tonia Brown as my guest. You can read more about her on her blog. Thanks, Tonia!

First of all, big thanks to Pembroke for letting me inside her world. I wanted to crawl inside her brain, but this was as close as she would let me get.

I thought about a lot of different things to blog about, and decided after much brooding that I would talk about folks lack of fact finding. In other words:

Research! Research! Research!

There is a reason the experts say, “Write what you know.” And it ain’t just because the words sound cool. Write what you know means write about things you are familiar with. These are invaluable first words for the new writer. Listen and heed them well, because their wisdom is ancient and their beauty is true. Writing what you know is about sharing your passions, your career, your life with other folks. Are you a nurse? Then write medical based horrors. Are you a carpenter? Then write about murder with hammers and saws and stuff. Computer programmer? Killer code!

Yet, as you branch out into your writing career and blossom like the lexiconic flower I know you are, you are going to want to write about other things. Things that aren’t your passions or career or life history. The nurse will want to write an FBI thriller. The carpenter will want to try a medical romance. And the computer programmer? Probably still killer code. Trust me, those programmers live, eat and breath the stuff.

If you dare to cross that line and move out of your comfort zone, then do yourself … no! Do us ALL a favor and for the love of all that is holy, do your God damned research! Don’t write about a rifle shooting buckshot. Don’t put a fuse in C4. Don’t, no matter what you do, use the typing of blood as an essential plot tool in a pre 1900 tale. Yes, yes I have done all of these and more. Thankfully they were all early draft mistakes, corrected by, dun dun dun research!

Save yourself the humiliation of a reader pointing out something that could have been so easily avoided by even five minutes of Wikipedia reading. Not that Wikipedia is the end all and be all of knowledge but … well … you get the idea. If you’re going to write a Civil War novel, read about the Civil War. If you want to write a Western, then at the very least watch a Western movie. (I recommend The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. In that order.) And if you want to write a hot zombie erotica read Lucky Stiff, by Tonia Brown.

Oh yes, I went there.

To conclude, I may seem harsh in my scolding, but heed my warning: You shall save a lot of embarrassment for both you and your readers if you know what you are talking about. Or at the very least, sound like you do.

Happy writing, folks!