You can add details and authenticity to your writing by calling on experts for information. I used to think this meant interviewing psychiatrists and lawyers. But I’ve discovered that anyone can be an expert.
For example, if you want to write about The Beatles, an expert might be your neighbor who was a huge Beatle fan back in the day. If your neighbor was a Beatles fan she likely knows their songs and maybe even went to a concert sometime along the way.
So imagine yourself and your neighbor sitting in your living room while she tells you about security at a Beatles concert. Or maybe you’re at her kitchen table and she’s pulling out concert ticket stubs and Beatles posters.
Your research just got interesting!
Of course, experts aren’t always living next door, so a writer often has to contact strangers for information. I’ve called people who once had polio, talked to a funeral director in a graveyard after a burial service, and sent emails to the websites of botanical gardens and mental hospitals. In every case, I’ve gotten enthusiastic help.
I used to be shy about approaching strangers but I’m learning that people who know a lot about a particular subject are thrilled to share their knowledge with me. And the really neat thing is that one expert usually needs to another. Research is a never-ending adventure!
So, if you need information to write a story or article, be brave – send an email, pick up the phone, or knock on a neighbor’s door. Someone’s sure to be on the other side waiting to help.
Joyce Moyer Hostetter
Author, Historical Fiction
COMFORT (Blue sequel)
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