Greg Herren is the guest blogger on Oh Get a Grip today.
It was my week to pick the theme. I chose Writing WHERE You Know. Writers are often admonished to write what they know (a mistake, I believe) but nothing infuriates a local more than reading a story where the writer got their hometown all wrong. Greg has seen a lot of that. He lives in New Orleans, and many of his stories are set there. His off-the-record tales of editors who tried to "correct" his localisms are as frustrating as they are funny. But writers who don't bother to do their research and get NOLA wrong drive him nuts.
I can understand that. I'm not a native of Los Angeles, but I love my city. So many times I see this casual disdain for LA in stories by people who don't have a clue about the real thing, so they attack the stereotypical LA. The problem with that - aside from ignorance and sloppy writing - is that the LA they're attacking doesn't really exist. Not that LA lacks real problems. So write about those. And fer chrissakes, stop using reality TV and Melrose Place as primary research tools.