91 votes
Accepted

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced site where anybody can contribute, just like this one. Wikipedia strives for verifiability and neutrality and has an active user community, but that doesn't mean that ...
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75 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

I simply let my character survive a wound that he shouldn't have survived, and then left a note at the bottom about what would have really happened. As a reader, this would break my immersion and ...
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  • 91k
59 votes

Writing a character who is an expert in something that I can't know

Since the subject matter on which the character is an expert is specific to the world that you created and not related to any real world knowledge or faith, you already know everything there is to ...
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  • 10.7k
46 votes

How to write a character that knows a lot about explosives?

You don't need to be able to build homemade explosive to describe a character who does. You just need to give the reader the impression that the character knows what he/she's up to. Most of the ...
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45 votes

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

Things changed. Several reviews on the reliability of Wikipedia concluded it is about as accurate as more standard encyclopaedias, while having more content. I too have heard that Wikipedia should not ...
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  • 551
43 votes
Accepted

How does a writer go about consulting experts?

I had to do the same thing for my novel only instead of a doctor, I needed a vet. It was only one scene but it was very detailed so I needed to get the information bang on. I think the key to ...
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  • 9,893
41 votes

Is it okay to majorly distort historical facts while writing a fiction story?

Is it okay? Well, it's likely legal (if the person is long dead anyway, and probably even if they're alive). You can do it. You might even get it published. For a large number of readers, the ...
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33 votes

How to write a character that knows a lot about explosives?

"Did you know if you mixed equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?" - Tyler Durden, Fight Club But guess what, it doesn't work. The author made that up. But ...
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  • 5,752
32 votes
Accepted

Character is an expert on something I'm not

The answer is research, research, and more research. I'm not an expert on horseback riding, or sword-fighting, or ruling a country. The only way I can write convincingly about those subjects is by ...
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32 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

Sometimes writers make mistakes. Sometimes they didn't know something. Sometimes they chose to ignore a fact because it got in the way of their story. This is so common, TV tropes has a whole family ...
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25 votes

Pregnancy in writing - A bit difficult

As someone else has said, every pregnancy is different. I am currently eight months pregnant, have been pregnant before, and pretty much every woman my age I know seems to be pregnant right now, so ...
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23 votes

Is it okay to majorly distort historical facts while writing a fiction story?

Getting your facts straight is one of the rules of literature. As with the other rules of literature, it is one thing to know the rule and know when to break it, but another thing to ignore the rule ...
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  • 1,553
22 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

Many authors do include that kind of information outside of the story itself. Typically it goes in a foreword or afterword, which are essays the author finds useful to include with the story that can ...
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  • 3,097
22 votes

Distorting historical facts for a historical fiction story

Hot Water: If you are going down that rabbit hole, you need to be SUPER careful. Writing in a historical period pretty much implies you stay consistent with history, except for the most trivial of ...
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  • 12.5k
21 votes

Character is an expert on something I'm not

Ask an expert. Obviously, research is an important first step. But there's only a finite amount of research you can do, and without intimate knowledge of the subject, you have no way of knowing ...
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20 votes

Distorting historical facts for a historical fiction story

I assume you mean something along the lines of Napoleon winning at Waterloo, or the British not getting caught with their pants down at King's Mountain and Cow Pens? It's usually easier to alter your ...
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  • 4,576
20 votes
Accepted

What level of understanding should you have of Quantum Physics to write a hard science fiction novel?

To echo the comment from F1Krazy, you only need knowledge of quantum physics if your story depends upon quantum physics. You could write about information technology, orbital mechanics, synthetic ...
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  • 4,914
18 votes
Accepted

Distorting historical facts for a historical fiction story

Changing history is slippery because it's a complex weave of causes and consequences, and even an expert might not know the full picture. I agree with Zeiss Ikon in their answer, the devil is in the ...
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17 votes

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

I like to say that broadly speaking, Wikipedia is mostly trustworthy when statements are cited, but it's never a source. There are several parts to this. Wikipedia is broadly and mostly trustworthy -...
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  • 3,734
16 votes

What can I do to make my writing fit the 1950s?

For an instructive comparison, look at Stephen King's description of the 1950s in his book 11/22/63, about a man who goes back from modern times to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination, but has to ...
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  • 3,257
16 votes

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

No. Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism. Biographies of living ...
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16 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

"I simply let my character survive a wound that he shouldn't have survived" Real people do this all the time, one of my favourites was a guy in Alaska who accidentally severed his own jugular vein ...
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  • 9,998
15 votes
Accepted

Difference b/w Abstract and Introduction writing for a research paper

An abstract should cover the whole paper. It reports what the paper is for, what you did and the conclusion. E.g. This paper explores the hypothesis that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The ...
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14 votes

How to write a character that knows a lot about explosives?

The O.S.S. and I My great-uncle wrote a book about his experience with the Office of Strategic Services in WWII, full of stories of espionage and clandestine acts. There is even a chapter titled "...
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14 votes

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

Wikipedia policy requires that editors cite sources to support their edits. However, there's no systematic process for checking that editors are accurately representing the sources they cite, or that ...
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14 votes

How does a writer go about consulting experts?

I actually find it somewhat intriguing that you're asking this on Stack Exchange. Consider that by now, Stack Exchange has over 170 different sites on different subjects, which aim to draw ...
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  • 3,734
14 votes

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

A really good example of this is The Martian, where the key event for Watney being stranded on Mars is a violent storm which damages equipment, injures Watney and threatens the lander. Andy Weir was ...
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  • 2,276
13 votes

Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

The idea that anyone can edit Wikipedia is often put forward as a bad thing, but with Wikipedia it's part of the peer review process and this happens a lot faster than it does with printed ...
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13 votes

Interviewing a person for a character

"I'm just curious" is not a very compelling argument, especially when you're emailing a random stranger who's probably too busy to answer every such email that enters his inbox. "I'm writing a book", ...
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  • 9,126

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