Because what I didn't realize before delving into fiction was that it required even more research than the non-fiction I'd been writing before. And I'm talking about contemporaries, not historicals. I'd need to find out about proper police procedure in domestic violence situations. Or where runaways tend to go when they want to stay hidden. Or exactly how early a fishing charter captain has to get up in order to be on his boat on time.
I'd always thought of fiction as being "easier" because you got to make everything up. But for me, it requires just as much a grounding in reality as the non-fiction article for the paper - but more subtly. Just info-dropping facts and figures into a novel doesn't work, either.
But even the most diligent researcher trips up sometimes, or a source turns out to be unreliable. (Not related to fiction, but this happened to me over the weekend. ABC News posted an article on their website, stating that Silent House, a film I've been tracking, had just sold to Lionsgate following their Sundance premiere. I read the paragraph three times just to be sure that's what it said, before posting it on Twitter and Facebook. Turns out? The article was wrong - the reporter had mixed up information about this film with the previous movie by the director/writer team. Unfortunately, I found out too late to retract it before news of the sale spread like wildfire.)
In this instant media age, incorrect info can blossom just that quickly, making it harder to be sure what you've discovered is accurate. I try to look at multiple sources, taking a "trust but verify" approach.
Do you have trusted sources when it comes to research? Where do you go to get "just the facts"?