serria: (Default)
[personal profile] serria posting in [community profile] write_away
Do you find yourself fact and detail checking everything possible when you write? Do you think "creative interpretation" or flat out ignoring facts is always a flaw of writing?

I think every genre has its own popular muddling of facts. Crime dramas might show a crime being easily solved with minimal evidence. A sci-fi might ignore physics for the sake of flash, explosion, and convenience. A historical drama might have two characters interacting who never would have met one another... and so on.

I find that when I write, I really make an effort for accuracy, though sometimes I wonder if it isn't better to relax the rules a bit in a way that might ultimately make for a better story - at very least, faster and more interesting pacing. On one hand, muddling facts is said to be something that throws people who are "experts" in that particular area out of the story, but on the other hand, is it justifiable when most people probably won't know or care either way?

What do you think? Have you ever had to debate whether being completely factually accurate or plausible is worth it or not?

Date: 2015-02-21 09:51 pm (UTC)
agilebrit: (Stark Blue Sun)
From: [personal profile] agilebrit
I use Rule of Cool unless it's something egregious or I'm writing hard SF. Just because we can't do faster-than-light travel right now doesn't mean it's not possible; it's just not possible with our current tech. If I'm not violating my own in-universe rules, then I'm good.

That being said, if someone gets real hard-and-fast facts wrong ("Elementary," I'm looking at you and the notion of a "black box" on a four-passenger private plane, yes, I am still irritated by that ep), I get really annoyed.

Date: 2015-02-22 03:03 pm (UTC)
ljlee: where I work & play (workspace)
From: [personal profile] ljlee
It comes down to internal consistency, keeping true to the rules of the world. Factual accuracy in the real-world sense would only be a problem when the world is our world, with the same history, physics, level of technology etc. I imagine that's why truly implausible things like faster-than-light travel can fly (so to speak), while even small inaccuracies in a real-world setting are distracting and annoying.

Date: 2015-02-21 11:30 pm (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
I really like doing research but I don't strive to be completely accurate in my fiction, especially at the expense of pacing.

I think less of a book or a movie when they get basic facts wrong - like in the Winter Soldier, when neither the writers nor the characters, supposedly top intelligence officers, seemed to know what biometric security was. That was laughable. But I also don't think much of clunky pacing.

It really depends. Like you say, if only experts are going to be annoyed, it's probably worth it. The problem is that it can be hard to gauge what facts are generally known and what aren't. What is common knowledge can change very quickly. All it takes is a leap in technology or an unexpected global news story.

Date: 2015-02-21 11:31 pm (UTC)
inkdust: (Default)
From: [personal profile] inkdust
I can get so bogged down in fact checking. I think the need for it depends heavily on setting, for instance high fantasy compared to historical fiction. Plausibility, I suppose. Another factor is how integral the detail is to the plot. Side details are more easily excused for the sake of the story. I think I strive for accuracy mainly because I'm always bothered if I notice handwaving or lack of realism when realism is intended in books or movies. I do think it would be better for my writing to try to set aside fact checking during the first draft and focus on the flow of the story, but I'm not sure how well my brain would cooperate...

Date: 2015-02-21 11:35 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
I think it's more important to stick to the spirit of the thing than the letter, if you have to chose for reasons of story. Otherwise I would stay to stick as close to fact as possible.

Date: 2015-02-22 12:13 am (UTC)
hyperfocused: Hyperfocused=Fey, posh, crude (Lex)/Fed Our Psyche (MR/TW) D-Cup of Heresy (Chloe) (Default)
From: [personal profile] hyperfocused
Sometimes I think it's more important to show the general trappings of the story realistically, (real being relative, but I mean sticking with the reality set in the particular universe.) I tend not to get extremely detailed in the nuts and bolts, but at the same time try not to look like an idiot, and, say, have Rodney McKay winning a No Bell prize.

Date: 2015-02-22 12:36 am (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
That actually happened? Thanks for the laugh.

Date: 2015-02-22 01:04 am (UTC)
hyperfocused: Hyperfocused=Fey, posh, crude (Lex)/Fed Our Psyche (MR/TW) D-Cup of Heresy (Chloe) (Anagrammatically Correct)
From: [personal profile] hyperfocused
No, not that I know of, but I've seen equally awful errors.

Date: 2015-02-22 01:28 am (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
Aw. I'm so disappointed.

I did once read about "dangerous security breeches" in a fic and nothing's topped it since. But I'm always looking.

Date: 2015-02-22 12:33 am (UTC)
splinteredstar: (Default)
From: [personal profile] splinteredstar
Well, as far as fanfiction goes, I try not to get things more wrong than the source canon does. (That can give me a bunch of lee-way.) That being said, sometimes fact-checking and research can help solidify the image in my head - on my last major project, a behemoth in its own right, the last scene didn't really form in my head until I started looking up cathedrals from that era. (I researched a lot of random things for that fic, god.)

As for original fiction... the details can keep it from being generic, you know? Making it a Specific Time and Place rather than the generalized Fantasy Setting that exists like a sort of amorphous, vaguely middle-ages vaguely Tolkienesque blob inside of a lot of people's head. That's just setting, though. Pacing is another issue. Not sure I have a response for that part.

Date: 2015-02-22 12:42 am (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (carrot gentleman)
From: [personal profile] inevitableentresol
Writing fan fiction does give a whole lot of leeway because the canon itself often takes liberties.

I find it so much harder to work out how accurate I need to be with original stuff. Mostly I just end up going "stuff it, this is a parallel universe" which allows me to make some details up.

That's probably why I'm so drawn to science fiction, which might not be good.


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