Sunday, August 05, 2012

Quote on Writing

From Michael Gruber:

"You may wonder, why research at all? It’s fiction, why not make it all up? The reason is that almost all readers have some expertise or experience, and will be irritated beyond reason by boners that they detect, and when they detect them, the bodyguard of truth will be penetrated and they will throw the book at the wall and write a nasty note. For the record, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham took place outside Quebec, and not Montreal as I stated in The Book of Air and Shadows, and Braddock PA is a nice suburb of Pittsburgh, not a decaying rust-belt town near Lake Erie. It’s impossible to overstate how distressing such lapses are. I recently read a novel by a writer I respect, who has the talent to shield the native preposterousness of the thriller behind a densely imagined historical background. Yet this novel’s plot was entirely based on a murder frame-up that involved a silenced revolver. Since there can be no such thing as silenced revolver, I read the rest of the book in a mood of cynical doubt. If he could be wrong about something that simple to research, what good were all the atmospherics? Who could believe them after the revolver?"

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

1895 Nagant
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvF4yurWSc0

Steve Bodio said...

Good one! Knew about the mechanism but never "put it together"!

daniel said...

Completely agree. Factual accuracy and to a great degree plausibility are critical to maintaining reader buy-in and confidence in the author. Lazy, shoddy lapses sour the experience of the work for me. Can't imagine Patrick O'Brian's series having the power it does without the bedrock of factual accuracy.

Darrell said...

I believe one of the rogue cops in the Dirty Harry movie Magnum Force used a silenced revolver in one scene. *shrugs*

neutrino-cannon said...

There's also this little Russian oddball:

http://world.guns.ru/handguns/double-action-revolvers/rus/ots-3-silent-e.html

that uses silenced ammunition!

Anonymous said...

Even if a book/story is fictional, the writer can still teach the reader many factual things. Why, as a writer, wouldn't you want to do that? I hate reading stories that seemed to just be made up as they went, without a clue about what they were talking about. Ditto for inaccuracy on films. And WHY do filmakers want to make a movie out of a book(or actual historical account), and then go off on their own tangent and change all manner of things, that usually RUIN a good story, or present history inaccurately? And of course my BIGGEST pet peeve here is ANIMAL innaccuracy, which is rife in writing and especially filmmaking! It is little wonder people are so ignorant about animals, or have such unrealistic ideas about them. I actually(I naiively THOUGHT) had a chance many years ago, while working on a television series, to make a difference with animal accuracy when approached for advice by the Director about "accurate" hunting dog scenes. Except my suggestions got beat out in the end by a VERY good bullshi**er who convinced the powers that were, to use his stereotypical(but very innaccurate) AKC Bloodhounds as Southern Appalachian hunting dogs!! If anyone wants to read(for humorous entertainment) further my apoplectic efforts to prevent this travesty(which failed)--just go to the "Christyfest" website, get on the message board, and click on the television series section--you'll haveta scroll back to past episodes--the one I'm referring to was "The Hunt"--also the "Pilot" episode--and read where a hillbilly dog nut(moi) tried his dangdest to correct Hollywood! My handle on that website is "Delusional Figment" for good reason.....

Anonymous said...

...that previous post of the innaccurate Bloodhound bit was me(fergot to I. D. myself)...L.B.