Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

A pearl is a pearl is a pearl — do your research carefully


I really know very little about jewelry in general, and even less about pearls in particular. Doing some research for a writing project, I discovered my understanding of saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls was seriously lacking.

I always thought freshwater pearls were, well, sort of “fake” or less desirable than “real” or saltwater pearls. I never really knew why I thought this, but I was certain it was true.

I was wrong. Although freshwater pearl prices I found browsing the Internet were generally less than saltwater pearls, the freshwater varieties are still valuable and many are highly sought after.

Above all, I discovered that there is a whole world of types, shapes, sizes, and colors of pearls. The “value” of a pearl has far more to do with shape and coloration than whether it’s saltwater or freshwater, “natural” or cultured.

The “moral” to this story for writers, I guess, would be this: Research with care, taking nothing for granted when you’re getting ready to write about something you aren’t very familiar with.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to research the value of postage stamps for a plot idea I’ve been mulling over about stamp collecting.
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