So you decide to write a book and the main character is going to be a Firefighter because you've always thought it was an exciting occupation. Before you let your fingers do the walking through your search engine, you will want to consider contacting someone who knows something about fighting fires. What you need is a Subject Matter Expert.
It's fiction, you say, what the heck do I need one of those for when I can just make stuff up? Well, do what you want, it's your funeral - I mean book. But in my opinion even fiction writers need to weave believable elements throughout their plot. Here's why:
If you are looking for information on various occupations, start local and go from there. Chances are most of your questions can be answered by your local Emergency Responders, Public Officials or Business Owners. You can also reach out to the personnel in charge of responding to media requests, or go onto blogs through writing groups and ask other authors who have used that occupation for characters they have written. I have found that most writers are more than happy to share their knowledge or at least get you heading in the right direction.
Give yourself enough time to use Subject Matter Experts when writing your book, as waiting for responses can delay you from completing your edits or even making your publishing deadline. If possible, contact more than one source for answers to your questions.
Speaking to a Subject Matter Expert can provide you with small details that can make a huge impact on your story. When incorporated correctly the scene should be not only seamless, but the information contained in it should ring true. A well crafted scene with realistic details is where the real magic lies. Now if you will excuse me, I need to find some experts in the medical field...I have some healing that needs to happen in Book #4! - DH
Other articles on Subject Matter Experts/Research:
Thank you so much to all Emergency Responders for your hard work and dedication. Your efforts are truly appreciated! Safe journeys to you all...
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