Even when you are writing fiction, your facts need to be factual. Fantasy, science fiction, whatever. Your facts have got to add up. So we research and write and research some more.
But sometimes it isn’t the research that reveals a mistake in your data. It’s just life. Just over a week ago, we sorted out a box of cooking stuff in my dad’s basement. There were baking pans and skillets, including one that wasn’t cast iron but sure looked a lot like it. My husband snagged that one and a smaller cast iron, came home and started doing research.
What he found included information on skillet sizing. This one is clearly a #4. The number doesn’t have anything to do with inches in diameter. It corresponded to the key hole size on the wood stoves where these skillet were originally used. Use the right skillet and it fit perfectly in the key hole.
Oh, snot. Now I have to rewrite part of that scene. I had done all kinds of research on wood stoves and I even got to check one out in person. But I had never seen anyone cook on one. That skillet goes on that keyhole. This one goes on this slightly larger keyhole over here. And the covers? They have to come off.
It seems obvious in hind sight. But I still have a scene to rewrite.
Do your research. Do it as well as you can. But keep your eyes and ears open. You never know when you’re going to hear encounter the information you need to make your facts factual.