As a writer, I strive to portray my characters and their environment as accurately as possible. I research, I google, and when possible I visit the places I write about. Just by the nature of the works I write, a good deal of my action takes place at night. If I have Johnny running through the woods at night, he darned sure better have enough moonlight to see where he’s going. To that end, I use this handy little link: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/ to help me set the scene properly. I’ve even been known to look up weather records for a given day to see if poor Johnny should be running across that field during a thunderstorm.
Sounds pretty organized, right? Guess what… I still make mistakes. It happens. Thankfully, a good editorial staff will save the day. Let’s face it, after a certain point, most writers become so close to our work, it becomes near impossible to see the errors in my own work. For instance, I’ve been informed by a couple of readers that there are a few typos in my book The Dance. Will I loose sleep over it? Nope. I just make note of where they are and pass the information along to my publisher.
Having said that, when I read a book with blatant errors, it rips me from the story with such force, I might as well be slapped in the face. More often than not, I can’t let the characters carry me away from that point forward, because I’m too busy looking for other inconsistencies. I’m not talking about swapping “no” for “know” or misused punctuation. I’m talking about putting a silencer on a revolver or slapping a clip into one for that matter. Something that you know is impossible. I will suspend belief for fantasy or even to a certain extent for mysteries or horror, but if a reference is made to something I know about and it is misused, it ruins it for me.
Yeah, it may take a bit longer to do the research, but the end result will be well worth the extra time invested. If not for the writer, then at least for the reader.