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Cole Parker

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Thanks so much for your comments, Cole. I could say much the same about your stories. To me, the believably of a story depends very much on accuracy. Lord knows, when you're already straining believably with prodigies who are seniors in high school at the age of ten, everything else better be perfect. It used to be that research for a book meant weeks spent at the public library, sifting through card catalogues and combing ancient stacks, almost crying when a book one needs was checked out years ago and never returned or replaced. It used to mean going to the local newspaper office and searching through unindexed stories on microfiche. It always seemed back in high school that I picked topics that couldn't be researched with a single trip the the high school library. But I digress…

It always amazes me when authors write about things they know little about and don't take the time needed to check the facts. My readers expect better of me and they certainly let me know when I mess up. Laziness is no excuse when the entire knowledge of the world is virtually at our fingertips. For example, today I was considering introducing a character in my NY series who was an Ethiopian Jewish American. I remember visiting an Ethiopian synagogue in New York with my confirmation class, but that was nearly fifty years ago. Since then, more than 100,000 African Jews have immigrated to Israel, leaving only 4000 remaining in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Only 1000 remain in the U.S. and the only remaining congregation is in Chicago and it only has 200 members. There are foods, musical instruments and holidays that are unique to Ethiopian Jewry, and in October 2018 there was a festival held in New Jersey that attracted hundreds of young people who experienced their culture for the first time. It took me about an hour to research this via Google and Wikipedia, but fifty years ago it would have taken days or weeks to find all this out. In the end it saved me from introducing a character that wouldn't have been sustainable in the way I'd envisioned him.

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You're right, of course.  Wikipedia—while some say it's undependable—is a great and readily available source of information.  I give them a little money each year because I use them so much.  I also look up things I'm not sure of, and frequently find I was wrong about them.  What's annoying is if your look them up after you're written about them and then have to go back and junk what you've written.  I've leaned to avoid doing that.  If you're not sure, investigate first!

C

 

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