Truth and Accuracy
You saw in Chapter 1 that the fundamental distinction between writing fiction and nonfiction is that the nonfiction writer must scrupulously adhere to truth and accuracy. You also saw how it is sometimes impossible for the reader to discern what is true and what is not, which means that the reader must rely on the writer's representations. Thus, it boils down to a matter of trust, and if you take upon yourself the role of a nonfiction writer, you are ethically bound to this responsibility. Perhaps because it is a question of trust, when a nonfiction writer is discovered to have fabricated the facts, the public outcry is loud and clear — especially toward journalists and memoirists.
When relying upon interviews or experts in the subject, you cannot take what is said at face value. If something arouses a question in your mind, you must pursue it further to make certain it is accurate. Ultimately, the validity of your work falls squarely on your shoulders and you are the one who will be held accountable.