When I'm writing a novel, one thing I try my best to do is be as accurate as I can with details. It could be as small as choosing the right wine with dinner or as big as describing what the Eiffel Tower looks like at night.
I think I realized how important it is to get the details correct from my husband. He's a former police officer who loves to read mysteries. He likes to point out errors in police procedure or in the type of guns used. His favorite is when someone uses a silencer on a revolver. The sound doesn't come out of the barrel on a revolver, but from around the cylinder. Hence, a silencer on a revolver does nothing. Yet in books, and even in movies, you still see it done.
In my recent book, Saved by the Sheriff, I wanted to give an accurate portrayal of a small town sheriff without making him look like Barney Fife. This is where I was able to pull from my own experience. The book takes place in rural southern Indiana, which is where I live. Between my husband being a former deputy sheriff and a former job, where I sometimes worked with local law enforcement, I had a good idea about the workings of a small Sheriff's Department.
Locations are another thing I like to research thoroughly. When I wrote my first manuscript, yet to be published, I located a part of it in Montana. I've never been to Montana and the internet was still fairly new, so I asked a friend who lived there to help me. She sent me brochures from the area that I was writing about and answered so many questions that I had. Now, I Google the city or town to start my research. I also usually request a vacation guide from the Tourism Office, which will give me maps of the area and information on landmarks, lodging, shops, and restaurants.
As I said, with Save by the Sheriff, I drew from my own experience. When you read the description of the fall colors along the river, you'll know that I was describing it from my personal experience.
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