Monday, May 23, 2016

Check You Facts

We see this a lot of times when it comes to writing. Authors have really worked hard to craft this fantastic story. Everything is in place. The conflict of the story seems dark and sinister, and yet we know the characters will work through it. But... there is a huge hole in the story. One of those key elements in the story just cannot happen. This might be a legal decision, a practical decision, or even one that, in human nature, probably would not happen. These issues, although seemingly small, are enough to really bring a story down.

For an author, these can really be a tough challenge to repair. The whole story might be built on that one pivotal premise, and now you find out it won't work. But here is the situation. You have to fix the problem. Putting something out there that is an impossibility will bring the readers out screaming.

Let's talk about a couple that we see all of the time. I will tell you, many of these happen with the romantic suspense authors:

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: This is a big one. I did check with a couple of professors in criminal justice on this one to verify. Consider we have a criminal investigation and the hero is falling in love with the heroine, who is potentially a suspect, or at least has a family member who is a suspect. Assuming this makes it to court, a defense attorney would be all over this to throw out the case.

HISTORICAL ACCURACY: Make sure the events you are talking about really did happen when you stated. I read a blurb on Facebook a while ago when an author put a major movie actor from the 40's and 50's in Paris during a time when the history books stated he was in the US filming a movie. Again, this might seem like a small point, but it was enough to hurt the author.

TIME and GEOGRAPHY ACCURACY: Make sure the time sequence of your story really matches with the plot. Can those characters really make it from Point A to Point B in that amount of time? Is there a real road that connects those two cities?

I think you can see where this is going to.

I would also add that even though much of this deals with stories in the "real world" the same Fact Checking needs to occur in those Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-Fi stories. If what you are putting in the story is just not possible, you might want to recheck things.

Just something to think about on a Monday.

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