This writing tip comes to you courtesy of Rose Powell on the Writing Bar blog. I agree with this introductory paragraph, although plenty of readers have told me not to be so pedantic about it:
Nothing destroys the magic of a story, or the credibility of an author faster than an incorrect fact. What if you get the name of a place wrong, or costume your character in something inappropriate, or worse unavailable in that era?
Remember that not every reader will be able to catch you out, but there will be that niche of experts in your area/location who will. Being able to keep these experts happy is a good way to buy yourself some fans.
Rose suggests three tips, the first (and in my opinion foremost of these) is:
Take your role as a world-creator and researcher seriously
Alan Baxter also posted a blog entry about some of the detail of his recent research:
I love to set my stories in interesting places and put my characters into testing conditions. In this case, far north eastern Scotland in winter. But it has to be right. I can’t just guess this stuff, even though I know most of the details above to some degree. If the story is going to seem real and convincing, the little details need to be right. Not about right, but exactly right.
Writing turns you into a bit of a jack-(or jill)-of-all-trades, and researching details can be a great project in and of itself. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction at times. Just don't let that age-old enemy, Procrastination, keep you researching instead of writing!
and Alan's comments on his own research here: http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/2011/07/21/fiction.html