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Writing/Publishing > As a reader do you.....

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message 1: by Alisha (new)

Alisha | 34 comments As a reader, do you have a tendency to look at factual information?


Say a character works at a fictional place in a town, but the town is real, in that state.

Does that get your panties in a bunch?

I was debating on researching the cost of living, the surrounding areas, nearest hospitals etc for my story and realized dissecting can be frustrating.

What facts matter in a fictitious story, if any?


message 2: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 2145 comments I have no problem with fictional places or buildings in a town, as long as they aren't significant factors for the town, or could easily exist in the near future. But if you say something happens at Lake Pinoke, and there is no Lake Pinoke in the town, I have a problem.

And you can't add a 12-story office building to a town where nothing else is above 2 stories.

Certainly, I would expect the major highways to be accurate, if you have some type of evacuation. And I wouldn't expect a bridge to suddenly become a drawbridge.

Having lived in Minnesota, I've seen a lot of stories where they have no concept of snow, blizzards, and cold weather. When it's a 30 below wind chill, you don't walk around with your hood down. You cover every bit of skin you can. A long walk in such weather with things exposed can lose you an ear lobe, or the tip of your nose. And parts of fingers if you're not wearing gloves, and walking around with your hands exposed.

One movie had the Minneapolis International Airport down to one runway because of a Blizzard. Hah! And because of the delays, they were talking about being able to drive to Chicago more quickly. If the airport runways were that bad, they won't even be able to get OUT of the airport with a car.

If some action were to be happening in the downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis areas, I would expect the Skyways to be integral to the story. We've had instances where individuals on the run from police get trapped in the Skyways, because there are limited places to run.

But it's rare that any story gets everything right. Sometimes that's the fun of it. :)


message 3: by Jan (new)

Jan (maxieq) | 19 comments Alisha wrote: "As a reader, do you have a tendency to look at factual information?


Say a character works at a fictional place in a town, but the town is real, in that state.

Does that get your panties in a bu..."


I do expect many details to be accurate. Never have minded towns being created but details must be accurate. For example if the book has a tornado make sure you have the facts correct. As a reader I want to believe the story. Cheers


message 4: by Tammy K. (last edited Sep 04, 2013 02:32PM) (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) "Say a character works at a fictional place in a town, but the town is real, in that state.

Does that get your panties in a bunch?"

In that example, no that is not relevant to the story. It is just a business right? Those come and go these days.

Yet I would say that the business must fit the town like Randy suggested.

Having a Microsoft research and development building (which the other side of my state has) in this section of my state would stand out like a sore thumb.

Are you familar with the concept of a "worrisome worm" or "brain worm"? I have seen it called other things as well, but what it is is a logic flaw in the story that picks away at the reader and usually ends up spoiling the book.
The flaw can be anything from setting, to characters back stories, to descriptions .. anything that does not sit right with the reader.
Like let's say I have a character who is 12 and for most of the story she acts like a 12 year old, but at the plot's resolution she 'mysteriously' changes her behavior (does something out of character) and solves the mystery of the century.
or
Let me use the book Jordan's Brain. Now I enjoyed that story immensely but for me, the only reason that it is a good story (4 stars) rather than a great story (5 Stars) was that Jordan was never described or given a gender. My mind kept struggling the whole book with which gender to assign to Jordan and how to mentally envision her/him.
For me, that struggle with Jordan's identity interfered with the rest of the book. But that is just me, others did not find it bothersome at all. Again, I found it to be a good story, but it would have been better if my mind had not been in a battle with itself over Jordan's gender.

As an author you have to find a balance where the lack of facts (or correct facts) does not provide a worriesome worm.
One way to do that is to avoid using settings that already exist, or to make an alternative time line. Another is to make blanket statements in your stories beginning that might explain away the differences...

That thought brings to my mind the author Anne Rice.
Did you ever read her vampire series?
In the first book she had written down some facts that would have ended the series with that single book.
When she wrote the second book, she needed a way to change the vampire history and other inconsistencies between the two books.
She did this by having the main character of the second book say a few lines up front about those inconsistencies, saying that the main character of the first book was Naive and simply did not know what he was speaking about in those sections... and voila.... the series continues on with no brain worms.

Now here is something that I really should not say because it will tell you all more about the exact location that I live, but it lines up 100% with your original query.

There is a pretty popular author that lives in the area that I am from, by the name of Patricia Briggs. She writes the Mercy Thompson series
Moon Called .
It takes place in the Tri-cities and the surrounding spit towns around us.
https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8...
Parts of the settings are 100% real. I've (and many others) walk the Zintel Canyon, hundreds of times.
http://wildliferecreation.org/our-cam...
At the start of her book she has a crude map of the areas in her book, which line up more or less with reality.
But She has the main character Mercy working in a garage located in the older part of the city of Kennewick. Trust me when I say that is not physically possible. The area was rezoned many decades ago to make it mostly residential, strip mall and small business like.
Yet she has adapted her story in such a manor as to make the location of the garage minor in the story line by having most events take place outside of the garage.
With the majority of the settings (scenes) taking place in the "factual locations" and personal locations (homes, cars) that are not inconsistent to the area hence playing down the brain worm... and let's be honest this is a book about shape shifters, vampires and the like so it's not based on "logic" or "it could happen" possibilities.
So all that rambling and yet I am not sure I answered you directly, somewhere in that all I guess I am saying... it depends on how heavily you accent the areas where you plan on separating reality from your fictional work.


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