Friday, August 20, 2010

Create an Expert File

Whether you write nonfiction or fiction, sometimes you just need to talk with an expert.

When I wrote Cave-a-Phobia, published by Spider magazine, I talked with the father of a friend of my daughter's who had spent years speelunking. When I wrote CROWN ME!, I talked with someone I met at Scarborough Faire about working in a Renassaince festival. When I wrote about child safety for Kiwanis magazine, I spoke to a dozen experts who dealt with swimming safety, bicycle safety, and more.

When you need an expert, the quicker you can find someone the better, especially if you're on a deadline or stumped on a book project for lack of information.

Try creating an expert file. With a 3X5 card box, I began creating a card for every expert I could think of. First, my friends and relatives who were experts in something whether because of their jobs or hobbies. Then their friends they could tell me about. Then I started watching the newspaper for articles about local experts and wrote down their information. Then there were people I'd met online.

Now, I have a box full of experts. Occasionally I still have to search for someone specific to talk with in an area I haven't found an expert in, but as my list grows, I sometimes find that I have the expert I need to interview or ask a question to right in my box, ready to call or email.

Who do you know that you can put in YOUR expert box?

No comments: