He raised one eye and leered, What? Do all that work for a cent and a half a word?
And just to drive the idea home, I might remark that one day I happened into the New York public library. Crossing the file room I slammed into a heavy bulk and ricocheted back to discover I had walked straight into Norvell Page and he into me.
I gaped. Page!
Hubbard! he whispered in awed tones.
Solemnly we shook each other by the hand.
CHORUS: Well, this is the first time I ever saw a writer in a library!
These two instances should serve to illustrate the fact that research does not rhyme with writer no matter what kind of mill you pound.
Research is a habit which is only acquired by sheer force of will. The easy thing to do is guess at the facts so thinks the writer. When, as a matter of facts, the easy thing to do is go find the facts if you have to tear a town to pieces.
Witness what happened last summer.
Staring me in the face were a stack of dangerous profession stories which have since appeared in Argosy. At that time they were no more than started and I sighed to see them stretching forth so endlessly.
I chose Test Pilot as the next on the list and started to plot it. I thought I knew my aviation because the Department of Commerce tells me so. Blithely, thinking this was easy, I started in upon a highly technical story without knowing the least thing about that branch of flying never having been a test pilot.
For one week I stewed over the plot. For another week I broiled myself in the scorching heat of my self-accusation. Two weeks and nothing written.
Was I losing money fast!
There wasnt anything for it then. I had to find out something about test pilots.
Across the bay from my place in Seattle is the Boeing plant. At the Boeing plant there would be test pilots. I had to go!
And all for a cent and a half a word.
I went. Egdvedt, the Boeing president, was so startled to see a real live writer in the place that he almost talked himself hoarse.
Mitchell, the chief engineer, was so astounded at my ignorance that he hauled me through the plant until I had bunions the size of onions.
All for a cent and a half a word!
I went home.