If you read my blog with any regularity (according to my stats, that would be about four of you), you know that I specialize in typos from stories about fire and firefighting. After fifteen years in the blaze battling business, it’s hard not to notice those kinds of mistakes.
A few years back, while at a writing conference, I happened to attend a session in which authors read aloud the first few lines of their work for critique by an agent or editor. One story was about some sort of tragedy at a home that required an emergency medical response. The agent or editor (I don’t recall who it was) gave polite feedback about the writing.
I sat in the audience mentally gnashing my teeth (it would have been impolite to actually do it out loud) because the writer got so many details in that scene flat-out wrong. Even allowing for variances in emergency protocols around the country, from response to arrival to removal of a dead body, it was wrong, wrong, wrong. I wondered if the word “research” even crossed that person’s mind.
I voiced those frustrations to a fellow writer during a break. He just looked at me and said, without irony, “Why don’t you write a book about firefighting? You know, educate instead of be infuriated.”
So I did. Or rather, I’ve been working on it in between college classes, daily life, and major disasters in my home county. It has a ways to go, but in the meantime I’m launching a new blog in support of the project. Advance the Line will absorb the bulk of fire-related posts that currently populate this blog.
The World Needs a Proofreader still has plenty of fodder, so it’s not going away any time soon. But I do promise to make a serious attempt to post regularly in both places.
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