Aphrodisia Authors

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bending the Truth

We write fiction. Yet we all know about the readers who insist that details be accurate and who’ll ream out an author if she gets something wrong – like the year a certain item of clothing became fashionable, or the calibre of a gun. This makes me wonder about a few things:

• If you’re a writer, when do you choose to bend the truth for the sake of the story?

• What details do readers want to be accurate? Vampires don’t exist (probably), but readers seem quite willing to accept them in fiction – and yet they’ll fuss over the accuracy of period clothing. How come?

• Do readers hold all fiction writers to the same standards of accuracy? Are they more lenient with paranormal, fantasy or futuristic? Less lenient with contemporary or historical?

• Do people nit-pick with TV shows and movies as well as books? For example, when CSI shows crime scene investigators trampling all over a crime scene in street clothing, shedding hair, fibres and who knows what all else, do a bunch of viewers write to tell them they’ve got it all wrong? Or when cases on Boston Legal go to court in a period of days, do viewers write to say that in real life the same process would take a year or more? (I don’t mean to pick on these shows – they happen to be two of my favorites! – and I’m quite prepared to accept the inaccuracies for the sake of great characters and an interesting story.)

What’s your opinion on the questions above?

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Posted by Susan Lyons :: 12:13 AM :: 6 comments

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