1. markimedes
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    markimedes New Member

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    How accurate should Fact be in Fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by markimedes, Dec 1, 2010.

    Hey folks,

    I've just started the 2nd draft of my book which is based during (not on) World War 2 in London, and I'm having a bit of a hard time nailing down some details (I stress the war merely provides the backdrop - the setting).

    The problem is that on 3 separate occasions the story relies on a bomb landing in a specific place within London. Now I have done plenty of research, and I know that on the 1st and 3rd occasions London was bombed, and areas close to where I'm writing about were hit. The 2nd occasion (a daylight raid) occurs during a lull in the raids and all I can found out is that "London occasionally had raids during this period".

    How accurate do you think I need to be? If I say a bomb came down "here", is it okay if that may not have happened, though the neighbouring area did get hit? And if I say a daylight raid happened on "this" date, does it matter if there were actually no raids around that time?

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  2. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Few people will notice such small changes. Most wont even know what dates London was bombed and only have a vague idea that they were during WWII. So feel free to enjoy a bit of creative freedom.
     
  3. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    My first answer is to write what's needed for the story, and let future generations of nit-pickers argue over whether it was justified.

    Your specific example, to me, would only be dissed by the most obnoxious of nit-pickers with nothing better to do. Use the bombing guilt free.

    -Frank
     
  4. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    I agree. If this is fiction...the fact that you are bombing some place that never got bombed wouldn't be the fact that I am focusing on. I would be more focusing on the reality of the bombing itself and the details surrounding it. I.E. if you tell me you dropped a bomb out of a b2 bomber on london during Desert Storm. I'd definitely have issues with that as a reader unless it fit some kind of wierd story you were doing. I think the authenticity is more in the scene itself than the actually technicality of whether it happened or not.
     
  5. markimedes
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    markimedes New Member

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    :)
    How did you know I wrote that, LOL.

    I think by the sounds of it I've been concerning myself with being too accurate, thanks all for illuminating the error of my ways. :)
     
  6. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    I'm clairvoyant I guess? LOL

    No problem. Glad I could shed some light on it for you.
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, your fictional character wasn't there to see it in reality, either.

    Writing fiction is lying, and the reader knows. All that matters is how convincingly you do it.
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fact needs to be only plausible enough to fool a majority of the audience. xD
     
  9. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've demonstrated a remarkable amount of research already. No (reasonable) reader is going to fault you for a fudge that tiny.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    exactly!
     
  11. Klogg
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    Klogg Member

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    The detail you have is enough to make it believable fiction. In fiction, it is only necessary to have enough facts to ground the story into reality. In a historical novel such as the one you describe basic laws of physics and general historical facts are typically plenty accurate for the average reader.
     
  12. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    Fiction is just that. Have fun with it!
     
  13. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    For the sake of verisimilitude, facts within fiction should be as accurate as possible. Nothing takes the reader out of a story like realizing the author made a factual error. But that depends on how "real" the story is supposed to be. No one is likely to take umbrage to dragons, elves, and magic in a story that is blatantly fantastical. Good luck!
     
  14. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    Sometimes the author will present fiction as fact within his/her story. Should it be considered a good thing if the reader is confused by this or not? Any thoughts?
     
  15. MetalRenard
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    MetalRenard Member

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    In The Dark Tower series by Stephen King he reinvents about a 3rd of Maine. Let fiction be fiction at let fact worry about itself.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it can be a good thing if done well, but only if it's out and out fiction [novel or short story]... if it's done within a non-fiction work [biography/autobio, essay, etc.], then it's a major no-no!
     

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