Bad Research Can Lead to Disaster

Bad research = bad writing.


Jeffrey Boman

2 years ago | 1 min read

Hollywood makes new books and TV. The problem is: if a single detail is wrong, no matter how small it seems, it can ruin all suspension of disbelief for the project.

There’s a writing rule we’ve all heard:

Write what you know.

Is this rule true? No, and yes.

No, because a good fiction author isn’t restricted from writing a good story because they aren’t an expert in that field. Was Isaac Asimov a roboticist? No, but his stories about robots are so well-loved that even robotic rules were named after him.

Has Julian May ever been to another world, or lived in the Pliocene era? Again, no. However, her Galactic Milieu series and the precursorSaga of Pliocene Exile are well-loved.

Yes, because the use of ideas made up is consistent — and if based on real-world things consistent too. One gaffe and it’s over.

A case in point is the series Hunters on Amazon Prime. Jewish Nazi hunters in the 1980s.

It’s over the top, not a documentary. That’s not a problem. A death to start the storyis.

The death of a Jewish woman has an accurate funeral service (for the Orthodox at least). Then, they go to the grieving (shiva) house… where the mirrors are left uncovered.

I’ve attended shiva houses. Mirrors are always covered, to avoid vanity.

A small detail was mistaken. BOOM. The series lost me.

Don’t make a similar mistake in your work. I’m trying to avoid it in mine too.


Created by

Jeffrey Boman

Many times writer for RPGs, 4-time NaNoWriMo winner, 3-time Camp NaNoWriMo winner, got a 2009 Aurora-Boreal award. Rumor is he sleeps sometimes.







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