Alan shares a frustrating reading experience with us:
[H]ow does something like that get past an editor? Does no-one connected with that book know what a crampon is? Well, I guess that’s a stupid question. Obviously no-one did. And it really spoiled the read for me, because I do know what a crampon is and every time I read about a character hammering one into the rock the narrative became farcical and I ground my teeth and had to try to ignore it and push on regardless.
He raises some excellent points about detail and accuracy - there is that one reader who is going to pick up on your little research faux pas and lose a lot of respect for you.
I recall a similar experience reading the Sara Douglass book, 'Threshold', which features a caste of elemental-style magicians referred to throughout as 'Necromancers'. Necromancy does not work that way, is all I'm sayin'. It was a simple writing mistake but made for a very frustrating read, as it felt to me as though the author simply didn't care about the genre enough to put in the minimal effort required to get this right.
Alan sums this up thusly:
If a writer can’t tell the difference between a shoe accessory and a safety device, can I trust him or her on anything else? Unless, of course, I’m really missing something vital and there’s another definition of crampon that I’m not aware of and couldn’t find when I checked.
Check out the rest of Alan's excellent article here: http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/importance-research-writing/