About a year ago, I was speaking to my baby sis about a forensic conference she attended and she said that the speaker could usually tell if an author really knew forensics or not, by their word choices. His example was “blood splatter”, which is commonly used on television and in novels. However, the correct term is “blood spatter”.

At the time of my sister’s revelation I had written splatter in my manuscript. I had no idea that I was flashing the world my ignorance and since then I have tried to be more accurate. Here are several solutions that I have found helpful.

1. Use your city’s resources. I recently had the opportunity to tour a metro crime lab and it’s very different from what is portrayed on television.

2. Attend a college forensic’s course.

3. Read credible forensic blogs. One of my favorites is fiction4writers, written by a retired senior criminalist especially for authors.

4. Purchase or checkout forensics textbooks that are used in college courses.

5. Use the indexes in the textbooks for additional information. They will have a list of additional books or websites.

6. Subscribe to forensic magazines. There are online ones, such as Forensicmag.com

What do you use to stay current?

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