Posted by: nancyisanders | April 7, 2011

F is for Fact Check

Whether we write fiction or nonfiction, picture books or books for young adult readers, as writers we must check our facts.

We can’t assume that something we read is actually factually true. Therefore, we can’t assume that we can put that tidbit of information in our manuscript unless we triple check it’s accuracy.

Why triple check? ‘Cause if we just use one source for the info we plug into our manuscript, it’s called “plagiarism.” That’s what we hear those lawsuits about when one author sues another author for using info in his book in her book, etc.

But if we find 3 sources that say the same information, it’s called “research” and we can put that information in our manuscript.

So, let’s be sure we back up each fact with 3 sources.

Better yet, let’s be sure we keep track of all 3 sources in some sort of bibliography and footnote system we use personally even if our publisher doesn’t require it.

I give more details on how to do this in my book, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.

Happy fact checking!


  1. The power of 3…it’s that # 3 again…LOL.

    • You’re so totally right! Were you at San Diego when I spoke? I’ll have to add this to my list of 3s!!!

      • Yes, my notes have a big 3 on them and it makes me chuckle everytime to think of your “best things come in 3s,” because I have 3 children. Smiles!

  2. Aww, that takes all the fun and adventure out of it, Nancy! haha! Kidding!

  3. When doing a historical fiction, what if you can only find two sources, do you just exclude the info? l can’t find more in many cases. The War of 1812 isn’t written about that much. So what can be done?

    • Yes, usually you have to exclude that. HOWEVER, if you find a primary source such as someone’s diary, you’re more free to use that as a single source. Just double check that the person who wrote the diary got her facts right about the event. -Nancy

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