My friend Julie Garmon, who writes for Guideposts, said the editors hate stories that begin with a weather report. I'd go so far as to say that most readers don't want a weather report anywhere in the article or book unless it pertains to what's happening.
Here's lesson number one: Don't fake the background. I read a novel in which a man took a direct flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis. One of my friends informed him, "You can't get a direct flight."
Minor detail? Perhaps, but there are always readers who know. By contrast, an editor wrote my agent, "I've never been to Africa, but Murphey makes the setting real." (He didn't offer a contract, but I appreciated his comment.)
I read a bio in which a man, in 1934, chewed Bazooka Bubble Gum. Bazooka was a World War II weapon and the gum came out of that era. The author meant Fleers. It was a minor detail but it caused me to distrust the writer's integrity on important facts.
If readers can't trust us on minor things,
how can they know we're correct on important things?