Using Experts to Shape Your Fiction Writing


The details matter. They do if your ultimate goal is to be a credible fiction writer. There are some details we can recall from memory and experience. Those would be undisputable. However, there are details that can be highly disputable, and those are the details that call for an expert’s guidance. So, how do you get it?

If you’re writing crime or murder mysteries, you should probably consult with any number of experts from medical examiners to detectives to beat police officers. You can even talk to private detectives. The point is that you talk to them, and in some cases, shadow them on their jobs. Don’t rely on whatever you see or hear on television crime shows or in movies. Those types of programs are fiction too, and they are partially informed on expert advice.

Is one of your characters in a certain profession unlike your own?  Well, locate a professional in your area and pick their brain. Again, request some time shadowing them or simply observing them so that you can commit certain things to your memory for writing later.

Here are some tips for asking your experts questions:

  • Always ask them what fiction writers (on TV, movies, etc.) get wrong. Most people follow their own professions in fiction.
  • Do not inundate them with minutiae. Ask them the questions important to your storytelling.
  • If technical terms are important to your story, then be sure to ask your expert for the proper usage of those terms.

Sign up for PR Newswire’s ProfNet service to locate experts. Registration is free and so are alerts. Put your query out there on social media too. You never know who has a great connection to an expert to help you shape your story with credibility. And do not forget to give your expert help credit in your acknowledgements.

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