As a writer, there are many things you have to consider. Keeping names in order, colours and habits, and more items of interest that have to do with the story. For instance, having someone’s eye-colour change halfway through a chapter is kind of stupid, isn’t it?
Hemingway said: ‘Only write about what you know’.
I’ve been thinking about that more times than I care to remember, and each time I decide he’s wrong. I write about space, aliens and all that. Do we know aliens? No, at least not the ones from outer space, unless you take Men in Black as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but that.
It’s impossible to only write what you know. I ran into that during a chapter of Naked Crow 10, which got quite a writing boost this month. Suddenly I found myself writing a psychological analysis of a person.
Am I a psychologist? Nope. But I needed that text in the story. And so I reached out to Robert, who’s dabbled in this psychology-thing for lots of years during his life. Many of his books show his knowledge in that field. And this is just one example of the power of knowing people who know things.
In the same vein I reached out to Will when I was writing Nagual. Will has a vast knowledge about South America. More than I do. I’ve been to Mexico twice, for 3 weeks in total. That’s nothing. Will helped me out with things.
For that same book I also reached out to Stéphane Dechene, owner and operator of Bare Oaks Family Naturist park. I don’t know how you build a naturist resort nor how one should be run. Stéphane was very kind and helpful. Will and he helped me to make the story a good one.
That is not the only way to find out about things, of course. We all know Google, Bing, Ecosia and what not. (Is altavista still out there?) But that’s not always the way to go. People who have experience, who know the details and who’ve run into issues with certain things, are the best sources for information in many ways.
I rely on them because I don’t have time to learn everything myself.