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The community for the promotion of accuracy in fiction

Research before you write!
Posting Access:
Anybody , Moderated
Welcome to Believability!

Do you get annoyed with writers who don't do research? Do you find yourself reading stories and thinking things like "Cool that horse down before you put him in his stall, moron!" or "This author don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies"? Do you wish they'd bothered to ask someone (like you) before writing that scene?

If the answer to any of those questions is "yes!", and you are a writer of fiction yourself, you probably also want to make sure your own writing is accurate. You ask yourself things like "Does the desert really get that cold at night?" and "What exactly should the other characters be doing when someone is having a seizure?" You don't want to cater to the lowest common denominator-- you want smart people to be able to read your stories without being unpleasantly jarred by technicalities.

Everyone has their own field of expertise, based on experience or education. Everyone has things they'd like to write about, but lack the knowledge to do it. Join in, share your own precious knowledge with other writers, and ask questions to enlighten yourself. It's all in the name of making fiction less annoying to people who actually know about stuff. ;)

Please read the community rules below, and have fun!

What can you post here?

  • Questions about stuff you'd like to know more about, for the purpose of writing fiction. Science, technology, medicine, midwifery, animal husbandry, farming, wilderness survival... anything real-world that you would like to write accurately is fair game.

  • Your own guides to your pet subjects. Even if nobody has asked you, write about what you know!

  • Reference material recommendations. If there's a particular book or website that you rely on for research help, make a post about it and tell us what it's good for. I'll add it to the Memories section for quick reference.

  • Constructive nitpicks. If there are particular errors that bug you or that you think happen frequently in the fiction you read, tell us. Turn your rage at the abuse of your pet subject into something constructive and educational.

  • Snippets of your own stories, or links to them. Tell us that you want someone to review the sheep shearing/horseback riding/electron microscopy scene in your story. Post a link to the story, or post the story directly to the community behind a cut.

What can't you post here?

  • Grammar and language usage questions. If you need to know how to keep the grammar police off your case, try one of the friendly language-lovers' communities. (My favourite is grammargasm.)

  • Fandom-specific issues. This community is for real-world technicalities that appear in your writing. If you have problems relating to a specific fictional universe, consult your Starfleet Technical Manual or a community like dwcanon_fodder.

  • Bashing. If you want to nitpick a particular error that you came across, describe it and correct it. Be constructive, not catty. If it's not professionally-published work that you're criticising, don't post a link to it or post the name of the author.

  • Quotes from other people's work. Whether it's original fiction or fanfiction, it's just rude to hold them up as an example-- and if it's original fiction (whether on the web or printed on dead trees) it's also copyright violation.

What should you know before you post?

  • Use references. If someone asks a question and you give them an answer, tell them how you know the answer. You might have read it on this website or in that book, or maybe your professor told you, or maybe you know from experience.

  • For web-based works, don't identify the author or post a link. This community is not a portal for bashing. (If it's a professionally published work, electronic or paper, you're free to say "(Name) made this mistake in (Title of Story)" and talk about it. It's not going to lead a horde of angry people to leave nasty post-it-notes all over some poor writer's snailmail box.)

  • Use content warnings. If you're posting your own work or a link to it, and there's something in it that could be objectionable, disturbing, or not safe for work, say so.

  • Just be nice to each other! In particular, this community is to be a safe place for writers of fanfiction and derivative works as well as original fiction. We don't care if you think fanfic isn't 'real' writing-- it suffers from inaccuracies too.