aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Why bother to get it right? For your readers, damn it!

I couldn't disagree more with this opinion piece, which you can read here. This children’s book author says, “Must there always be an eye on whether a story is true-to-life? The fabric of a tale has to feel right, I admit. We need to be invited in. But these days we're off the deep end when it comes to fussing about the details in art and forgetting the rest.” He goes on to say, “I worry that the lines between different categories of writing have begun to blur. In response to a new fictional picture book, I received e-mails pointing out that it “wasn't fully researched.””

I agree with the agents or editors who wrote that.

For my books, I’ve done tons of research, and now know a lot about art forgery, TB asylums, murder methods, ELF, and blindness. The research makes the book richer and it also gives readers a two-fer: an engaging story line coupled with some new facts that they can file away about how things work in the world.

Even if we write fiction, I think we have a duty to get it right, at least as right as we can. Sure you can get bogged down in details, and do so much research it overwhelms the book. But I think fiction should not give readers an erroneous impression that they are learning about something, when really the author made it up out of whole cloth.

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