1. Keep one on your WIP to keep facts, characteristics of people and ideas straight.
2. Keep one on people who can and will help you research.
3. Keep a small notebook in your purse, car or briefcase for possible descriptions you’ll need. When my mother had surgery a few years ago I took my notebook out to write while I waited. I described everything my 5 senses could detect. Hushed voices, beeping, doors closing, hard chairs, stale coffee, laughter and tears all helped me envision a scene. The sound of a hall polisher might be the detail that makes your scene real.
PEOPLE RESOURCES #2 from above
Astonished at the number of people who stepped up to help me with little details in my writing not only delighted me but led to new connections and fans.I was also surprised at how talented these people were around me. Here are a few I’ve collected over the last two years.
1. ER nurse/ nurse practitioner – She helped me with that transfusion then snap a spiral cord.
2. Computer genius that takes care of my lap top – He lets me know if my tech guy in the story can actually accomplish a task with his government computer.
3. Psychologist in Washington D.C. – She helps me with PTSD problems my characters suffer then proceeds to fix them through a character I created to do that. There have been times she told me where to park a car to observe a particular situation I need for the hero to monitor.
4. Cross dresser – Do I really need to explain that one?
5. Fireman – I haven’t actually used him yet. I just wanted him. ha
6. IRS Agents – Yes, some are very willing to help you. I have two.
7. Engineers – Chemical, mining, civil, mechanical and electrical engineers are part of my crew.
8. Weapons – I live in Missouri. I don’t have to go far to get this.
9. Conference Guests – At Killer Nashville I met Black Ops to Hostage Negotiators who are very willing to help writers. Get chummy with these people. They are great!
10. Handbag designer – She even throws in some goodies for my giveaways.
11. NFL Cheerleader
12. Large hotel manager – It is amazing at the information this guy has funneled my way. He showed me ghosts and other mysteries that will appear in a future novel. I even get a free room once in a while.
13, Soldiers – One of my former students told me more about Afghanistan than I could have ever gotten out of a book. I needed that information to write a number of scenes in Rooftop Angels.
14, Lawyers (I have a former prosecuting attorney) and judges ( What can I say? I had his kid in school.)
15. Politicians – Working in several campaigns I’ve met the good, the bad and the ugly. But all are great resources for a future novel.
16. Ministers, nail techs, stylists, teachers, artists, doctors, police, paramedics. The list is growing.
THE WRITTEN WORD
I still rely on the web, writing and resource books, the library, television programs, the news (not just one channel) magazines and newspapers. Some things get printed off and stored in a folder so I can keep going back to check facts. Others things get stored in a file for future work.
I cannot stress this enough! Learn how to do what you’re writing about or risk sounding like an amateur.
Fight scenes – learn how to fight.
Weapons – learn how to shoot. I recently took a Japanese Samurai Sword class. I wore a silly grin on my face for days!
Language – I took a Hebrew class when I thought one of my characters would be a Biblical Archaeologist.
Whatever the problem, experience it to find out little things that add flavor and depth to your story.