My main area of historical interest is World War Two. I’m fascinated by it – perhaps because there were still air raid shelters around to play in when I was growing up in Glasgow. And I can still clearly remember my Dad pulling on his old army overalls and beret before climbing underneath Mum’s car when it needed fixed.
So when I heard about a two-day symposium on The Great War being offered at the Military Museum here in Calgary, I hummed and hawed before deciding to sign up. It’s not ‘my’ time period.
But I’m glad I did.
Here’s what I learned.
1) Two days and 25 papers later, I probably know more about Alberta in WWI than most of my native-born Albertan/Canadian friends.
2) As a writer, ANYTHING you learn is invaluable. Everything can be adapted to add depth, texture and veracity to your writing.
3) More importantly, if you write anything inaccurate in your novel, someone somewhere will pick up on it. And when they do, it will pull them out of the story. From then on they will question everything else you say. Pull a reader out of your story and you’ve lost them.
No matter what you’re writing about, please – please – make sure your facts are sound.