8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime
8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It
8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen
8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many
August Guest Bloggers
8/8 Leslie Wheeler
8/15 Jean Rabe
8/22 Kait Carson
8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now
Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!
Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!
Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.
KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.
Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!
Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."
Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.
Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Fiction or Fact
It’s hard to check every single fact when writing, and as a reader, I don’t usually check author’s facts. When I read a cozy based around needlework, like Marcia Ferris’s books, I don’t have a clue if her needlework instructions are bogus. Frankly, I don’t care because I’m not reading the story for the craft. When a series focuses on cooking, like Krista Davis’s series, I have more astuteness, but then I do my (more than my) share of cooking. I learn a lot from my authors about history, crafts, religion and various vocations. The authors may be just making it all up, but I doubt it. Most of us want to write with integrity.
I belong to a writers’ group, which enables authors to ask experts questions so that they “get it right.” I’m also attending the Writer’s Police Academy at the end of the month to increase my knowledge of police procedure, jurisdiction and technology. Because I’m not an expert, I wonder if after my attendance at the Academy whether I will start to catch errors, which begs me to question the purist vs. the pure of heart debate.
In a peer critique of a short story I wrote, the writer noted that I used the wrong type of boat. He was right, so I did some research and changed the boat type. But then, the editor didn’t understand, and thinking my reference was generic, redlined it, making me laugh. The right type of boat wasn’t actually very important. I thought being specific gave me more authenticity. The editor knew that my reader wouldn’t understand or care about the reference.
I wrote a story in which a nearing-retirement police officer let my main character, a teenager, slide when she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. My editor had a police officer double checking our facts. The police editor called me in error because my police officer did not follow procedure. No, my character didn’t follow procedure. It wasn’t my error. It was my character’s error. He was a softy. Police officers are human and sometimes don’t follow procedure, as evidenced by a conversation I overheard between my daughter and her aunt, who both confessed to using tears to avoid getting speeding tickets. Yes, their method worked. The police editor was so caught up in fact fault-finding, he missed the point.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of crime romance, those novels that start out with a scary criminal situation with a damsel in distress. Of course, her hero helps her save the day and then they fall-in-love and live happily-ever-after. In part, I’m reading them for research, but I’ve also found them entertaining, bringing me back to my internal debate.
Crime romance authors write for the pure of heart. Purists read police procedurals. I enjoy reading both, but my motivation is to be entertained. The primary goal of my writing is to entertain. I’m not suggesting that authors forget about getting their facts right, but I’ve also found that most of the research that I do gets edited out because it isn’t necessary nor germane, or my character just doesn’t care about what he’s supposed to do.
Do you know when to say when to research? Do you wish more of the nitty-gritty had been redlined when reading a story that has bogged itself down six feet under, or does all that authentic detail fascinate you and add to the author’s authenticity?