Fact-checking as a rule is often taken for granted. Many authors and writers skim the surface of a point or event without verifying the specifics. Our credibility as writers and authors rests on accurate fact-checking. Here are a few resources to assist you beyond a Google search.
- Your public library has librarians who are adept at digging out facts and sources. Call them and even make an appointment with your local librarian to get the most accurate information available per your topic.
- Newspapers have fact-checkers on staff, if you’re a small publisher or a self-published author; consider hiring someone to go through your manuscript to verify information.
- Use this tool to comb Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to verify authorship and direct quotations verbatim.
- If your story is set in a different time period than the current one, make sure products, media types, and other things we use now were also used then. For example, your character shouldn’t be playing with Frisbees in 1701.
- Ask your copy editor if they are also fact-checking your document. If not, ask them if they perform that as an additional service or know someone who can.
- Genius is a Wikipedia-like tool that gives accurate song lyrics.
- Your local colleges and universities have professors with expertise on topics that can help you tell your story better. Historians are great references.
All of this can seem like a lot of hard work involving details, but in this age of “fake news” writers and authors of fiction and non-fiction have to be more diligent. Plus, your readers deserve the integrity of your work’s facts.