So how do you do this? First, by being accurate. If
you’re writing about 1905 Los Angeles, do not include
the Dodgers. Or if you’re writing about lawyers, don’t
have one asking his own witness leading questions with-
out the other side objecting. And so on. You have to know
your world before you write about it.
One way to get it right is through experts. People
love to talk about what they do, if you approach them
Get into research. Some writers, like a James Michen-
er, do a ton of research up front. Others, like Stephen
King, wait until the ﬁ rst draft is done and then see what
needs to be ﬂ eshed out.
I like a method in between. Enough research to write
knowingly, then when I come to a place in my book that
needs detail or depth, I’ll leave a comment in my docu-
ment and pick a time later to research it more. I do this
so I don’t end up writing a long scene that is completely
And always choose the telling detail over plain vanilla
“He jumped into his car and drove away.”
Wait. What kind of car was it?
“She was beautiful.”
Was she? I don’t believe it. Describe her so I’ll know
it. Show me how other characters react to her.
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