Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fact within Fiction

Why get your facts are straight when writing fiction?  It depends on how much you want to cheat your readers.  I picked up a romance novel a while back and read how one of the characters gunned the engine of his car… in the 1600’s.  I have not picked up a romance novel since.  Okay, I know that readers of certain genres could care less about factual information.  Readers of romance novels, in particular, are going to concentrate on the steamier sections of the book.  When I wrote my novel, The Dark Before Dawn, I took great pains to make sure that the psychological and police procedural elements rang true to life.  This way, if the reader were interested, he or she could learn something from the book, and be entertained at the same time.   For instance, I recently interviewed one of our Sheriff’s Department officers and learned that if a murder mystery takes place on the West Coast, law enforcement officials refer to a suspect as “suspect.”  If your book takes place on the East Coast, using the word “perpetrator” is perfectly acceptable.  “UNSUB” belongs to the realm of television shows.   Writers are told that they should write about what they know.  I’d like to add to that.  Writers should also write what they have a passion for.  I love picking the brains of therapists to gather information on psychology.  Is it strange that I enjoy chatting with detectives from Homicide Bureaus?    The passion writers have for their work will become apparent in their work if they keep it real.