1. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    ... and you get it all wrong!

    Discussion in 'Research' started by PBrady, Mar 17, 2014.

    Annoying isn't it?

    Currently researching events that happened in 1317 and trying to place three pivotal characters in close time/space proximity to start a doodle.
    Thought I had it and started to get down to some writing. Got about 3000 words written, went to check a detail and incidentally found that one wasn't even in the country on the particular date. Bloody annoying when historical events don't line up with my neat envisaging.
     
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  2. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    ... and then I realised that I'd been looking in the wrong file and it was all pretty much okay again!!!!
    Boy, am I a happy bunny!
     
  3. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    senior-moments-are-us
     
  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I had this idea for a real funny story about two mosquitoes and what they each planned to do with the two weeks of their life. Well then I read that only female mosquitoes bite people and that ruined the whole idea.
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You guys realize you're writing fiction, right? Nobody's looking to you for history or science lessons. :)
     
  6. Wowzie
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    Wowzie Member

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    I would be pissed if I read a story only to find out... it was all wrong!
     
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  7. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Well yeah but it would make sense if I'm talking about a mosquito that just got married and his wife is pregnant with 10,000 mosquito babies...while the other guy plans on living the single life and biting every person in the world. 7 billion people in two weeks...starting with this guy. The other mosquito says, that's dumb and irresponsible. Whatever sometimes you just got to open up your wings right? That's when a hand comes in and crushes the biting mosquito with a smack. "I told you so." The daddy mosquito says.
     
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  8. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Noooooo!!! Gotta be accurate as possible! I passed my PSATs from what I learned from historical fiction! Really and truly! :D
     
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  9. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    I read something on a website about how in combat, people rarely ever bashed sword against sword and it painted a funnier image of characters like Drizzt, who didn't use a shield but I was willing to suspend my disbelief....well actually I couldn't stop myself from thinking, 'they didn't actually do that' but I can suspend it long enough. Besides, how many OTHER people know that only females sting people? I sure didn't and I'm guessing many others don't either.
     
  10. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    There are many degrees of fiction.
    When reading fiction that has some basis in fact, be it scientific, historical, or some other field, I prefer it when the author gets a few basic things right.

    Fiction can be both entertaining and occasionally informative.
    I learnt a lot about prostitution in Victorian London from reading the French Lieutenant's Woman, and about the early days of detectives and detective fiction by reading The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Both of these are excellent books, partly due to their attention to detail.

    What I learnt about motorbikes from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was less impressive :).
     
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  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @PBrady - I was kinda kidding with my post. I've learned tons of stuff from reading fiction, when the author has gone to the trouble of doing the research and being accurate. :)
     
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  12. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    If you like historical novels you should read "The Betrothed" (I promessi sposi) by Alessandro Manzoni.
    Great book, I was forced to read it at school, but still loved it.
     
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  13. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    @PBrady my father has that Zen book, he always said it was a complicated one whenever I asked after it as a kid. The reason I asked after it was because it was always on his nightstand and he didn't seem to progress much. So now that your problem is solved, allow me to derail the thread and ask you, is that zen book really that complicated?
     
  14. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Is it really that crazy to think that the females are the blood suckers?
     
  15. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    I think your dad was unwilling to admit that a book with such a cool title had defeated him - as it had defeated so may others, myself included.

    What is it about? As far as I could figure out it was using a road trip on motorbikes and attitudes to vehicles and maintenance to explore different personality types. One guy has a modern bike and gets mechanics to sort thing out for him, the other has an older bike and keeps it going himself.
    I never got to the end. I think it was the first book that I gave up on.

    The author says: "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."
     
  16. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    Fairynuff.

    I do get a tad disappointed when I have seen/watched something "based on a true story", only to find after a little exploration that the only grain of truth was a character's name.
     
  17. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    Brave behind a keyboard? :D
     
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  18. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    They didn't "bash" sword against sword because that would damage the edge. They guided the enemy's blade away from their body with the flat of the blade, so there wouldn't be the "clang" that you get in the films. More like clicking and hissing of metal sliding against metal. The most exaggerated form is what you see in modern sport fencing. Lots of circling and tapping.
     
  19. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    If possible I do check facts in novels and I stop reading if I find stupid mistakes. That is why I toss a lot of novels that other people rave about.
     
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  20. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    It is understandable why authors sometimes trim the truth. In the Hilary Mantel novels the actual casts of characters involved is very large. Few readers could be expected to keep track of all these characters and their histories which bring them to the point in the narrative where they get involved in the main story.
    I do agree with you that stories which can't get some of the basics correct are annoying. I don't mind the truth being bent for the sake of a good narrative.
     
  21. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Why can't they both be female though? They could be best friends. "Lesbian Mosquitoes", though, also sounds like a brilliant title and an interesting story as well.
     
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  22. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    That does sound annoying.
    It reminds me of the time I accidentally printed and mailed out a slightly older resume, a version that never faced a spell check. It had about 10 errors in it. I found this out when I went to an interview and my resume was posted on a bulletin board with red circles all over it and I was like "What the hell?"
     
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  23. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    On this same theme, there's a certain piece of mural art I want my MC to view (for symbolic purposes) in 1975, but I've learned that while it was painted in 1902 it was covered up that same year and not restored and made visible to the public again until 1986. Crumb. It'd make a perfect landing place for a plot arc I have going; do I cheat and pretend it could be seen in '75?

    I mean, hey. I've already given a certain famous gallery in London a lot of Old Master paintings that never existed. How is this different?

    Or am I being naughty all around? :oops:
     
  24. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose it depends upon how much you (and your intended readers) care about accuracy. It is all right in fiction to create a set of items that never existed for the story, because you haven't changed anything, but rather added. But saying that the mural was visible when it wasn't is deliberately ignoring the facts. In the end, would you mind when readers write in and say "that's wrong"?

    I would add though that even well known "historical" writers such as Bernard Cornwell often twist historical facts a little just for the convenience of the plot, such as some Major was actually somewhere else during the battle, or there were really two small battles that he merged into one just to streamline the story. But he does confess to the changes at the end in his notes.
     
  25. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    If it makes a story work, then why not?
    You can always slip in the facts about it in notes at the end. It may spark additional interest in the mural - in fact I'm intrigued about it now.
     

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