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My protagonist works in a pharma company and I really don't have a clue about how they work, what kind of a life they live and all.

It is required for the plot to make him work in a company which produces drugs. At first, I thought of biotechnology and then ultimately landed in pharmaceuticals because well, they're the same (how stupid of me!).

I know that one should write what he is an expert in. But this piece of work revolves around two things of equal importance. One of them is the company's conspiracies.

Now, I am an undergraduate and I really do not know how my protagonist's professional life will be. Will my imagination suffice to construct the company, their history and his work-life or will I need to dive in the ocean of R&D? If so, can anyone please guide me as to where can I get an elaborated view of a pharma official's life-style (except searching for a real person who does work in one and ask him directly)?

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Asking for subject matter expertise is off-topic for this site. Asking how to find it may be more on-topic, though. Answers should focus on how to get the expertise, not trying to provide a specific answer. – justkt Jan 4 '12 at 23:18
@Justkt, I understand that and that is the reason i never asked to give me the elaborated view. I asked " guide me as to where can I get an elaborated view". Meaning that i'll find out. Just show me the right way to go which i believe you all always do. Thanks a ton! – Amin Mohamed Ajani Jan 5 '12 at 0:14
Read Ben Goldacre's book Bad Pharma. It'll give you some clues. – TRiG Feb 1 '13 at 23:33
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Why do you not want to ask a real person directly? Most people are pleased if they can tell about their job, especially when an author says he wants to write about it in a novel.

This "writing what you know" is becoming more and more dangerous, because it is widely misinterpreted. It's just an advice, that you shouldn't be too disappointed if you try to write literary fiction and all you have ever read are romance stories (and vice versa). So skip that "expert" nonsense.

You are a writer. Your job is to make things up. You can even do that without any research. Some readers don't even care if what you write is like it works in real life. After all they bought a fiction novel. Just look at movies. I'm a programmer and I can tell you that every movie I have seen where a hacker is involved tells you totally rubbish. But most people don't care (probably because they do not know better).

Now let us they you care (or you care about the readers who care). Then asking people working for a pharma company is the easiest way to get the interesting details. An internet search should give you a good start also. Yes, it's work, but don't expect someone is doing your job and gives you an already elaborated view.

If you want to please the readers who care, then research is part of your job. And very likely it will be a remarkable quality improvement for your whole story, even for readers who do not care about the details.

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If you read the blog of John Rogers, writer/creator of TNT's Leverage, he's mentioned several times that people are completely delighted to tell you all the boring details of their jobs. People love being considered to be an expert on something. Tell them straight up that you're writing a book and you need realistic detail. Buy your source a drink, turn on your recording device, and relax for the next two hours. kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2010/11/… is one post of Rogers's; there are others if you hunt around. – Lauren Ipsum Jan 4 '12 at 21:33
Well, i would love to ask someone directly. But i thought maybe they are too busy and why will someone share their experience with me for my so-called-novel! I even tried to search for a pharma official but then i couldn't find the (if you may call it:)courage to actually go up there and knock the door. But as you guys said, I guess i was thinking the wrong way! – Amin Mohamed Ajani Jan 5 '12 at 0:11
@Lauren, Thank you! Will definitely check it out! – Amin Mohamed Ajani Jan 5 '12 at 0:15
It's a fantastic blog. He's a great writer and a great blogger, and the show kicks all kinds of ass. You can't lose. :) – Lauren Ipsum Jan 5 '12 at 1:40

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