Phyllis Irene Radford
Years ago I attended a writing workshop with Steve Perry, a fine writer in his own right. He held up an object and asked the participants to describe it. Pages and pages of details later–some of us even got up and looked at it more closely–I felt like I could visualize it in my sleep.
Not one of us bothered to ask what it was: an oddly named knife used in an obscure Indonesian martial art.
The name might not trigger a memory in the mind of a reader, but knowing what it was designed for and what name to give it makes all the difference in the world.
So if you don’t know something, ask. Experts love to ramble on about their obsession. That’s why they are experts. With the internet and powerful search engines you the writer, no longer have an excuse. Scroll through pictures, find the knife or gun, dress, and carriage that is right, then SEARCH. Even Wikipedia cites their sources where you can find contact information.
Research can be an end in itself. But that’s another blog all together. Spot research makes your work come alive.