Welcome back! How was everyone’s week? I admit that I didn’t do a lot of writing last week. I was too busy taking care of sick kids, cooking a traditional thanksgiving meal, and helping The Engineer lay a wood floor in our basement. I did get some reading time in. It was very nice actually and I was able to catch up on my big TBR pile.
One book I read had a huge “stop” moment for me. As we know “stop” moments aren’t good in books. They pull us out of the narrative and keep us from becoming involved. It it’s bad enough it could keep us from finishing the book.
In this book some people had driven to another city for a food festival. On the way home they had a discussion about what road to take. Not a big deal right? It doesn’t have anything to do with plot, characterization, or story. But the author got it wrong. First off they were talking about a connector from two freeways that don’t actually meet. Also the author had them going the wrong direction, they were supposed to be going north but they were going south.
Many thousand people will never even blink at it. They won’t know it’s wrong. But it so happens that that is where I live. The Engineer drives that stretch every day to and from work. As I said it doesn’t affect the plot but it bothered me enough I had to stop reading for awhile. I did finish the book but I had lost some trust in the author and reading, in essence, is all about a reader trusting the author and story.
I hate that this bothered me because now I’m terrified. What have I done wrong? It’s impossible that I haven’t got anything wrong. While my book is a fantasy, it’s a mild fantasy and the world is based on the mid 1800s. While there are some things I have to change to make the story fit (it is fantasy after all) I want to be as accurate as possible so readers have something to connect to. I know some historical authors that basically give themselves the equivalent to a master’s degree in whatever time period they write in. I haven’t done that. Yet. Maybe I need to.
Do small things like this bug you or do you blow them off? How far do you go to be accurate in your research?