Friday, September 5, 2014

Abacadabra, Don't Make Me Stab Ya

I was recently talking to a non writing friend of mine (they need a cool muggle-like moniker so we writers can quickly establish things when speaking about our not writer friends) when they asked me why I spend so much time researching when I write fiction.

"Just make something up," they said. "Why do you care if the neighborhood is right, you can see that bridge from the corner of that street, if a doctor would really prescribe that medication with those symptoms? It's all make believe anyway."

I nearly choked. I was downright incredulous on the inside but I smiled and racked my brain for a way to describe the magic of a fiction book to an obvious non-believer.

Then it hit me. Magic is the answer.

The really good authors truly are magicians. But we don't have smoke, mirrors, and scantily clad women in tight sequined dresses to fool the eye. we have clever words, emotions, and honest storytelling to deceive our readers.

I'm gonna go ahead and say it -- David Blaine, David Copperfield, Lance Burton. Y'all got nothing on Kent Haruf, JK Rowling, Barbara Kingsolver.

It's all an act, an illusion. The people who buy tickets or gather on the street to watch a magician and those who purchase novels all know they are being duped, tricked, bamboozled to believe in what is not real. And this is where the research comes in. So long as that audience or reader do not see up the sleeve, or spot the wires dangling they are perfectly willing to suspend their belief. A simple mistake ruins the whole thing whether it be a magician knocking over that mirror or me writing about Amarillo being overrun with Armadillo's. Armadillo's are a rare critter here in Amarillo, but can be found aplenty not far south of here.

I've read novels, otherwise good novels where the author made a simple or stupid mistake that jolted me out of the book. Once a readers pauses to think Uh-uh Buster, that ain't how it works, you've lost them.  And that my friends is a very non magical explanation of why I'm anal about the small things when researching my novels.

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Yeah it's been a while since I blogged but I've been in morning over the price of bacon. It's hard to sit down and right posts on a blog with Bacon right there in the title and not get a little choked up. Also I've been editing polishing and otherwise writing my butt off in the hope I can afford more bacon. Now on to the beer portion of this post ...

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If you are a discerning beer drinker and are not on www.untappd.com you my friend are missing out. Beer drinking social media that keeps track of the different beers you have consumed, offers recommendations based on your personal ratings and puts the social in social drinker. Look me up by name.

You can share pictures along with the reviews like this one of what might be the best beer I've ever tasted.





And here was my original Untappd review ...

Hell yeah! Puts hair on your chest and a smile on your face. Smells harsh but tastes smooth. Thick malty and robust.

That's it poured up in a glass. Nice and dark, like a good beer should be.      

3 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Your magic/magician analogy about fiction is spot on!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I think these days the audience is more inclined to look for the trick in the magic - which, in my opinion, ruins the magic. The show is much more enjoyable if you just watch and stop trying to figure out how he pulled the rabbit out of the hat. But that's just me. ;o)

Sorry about the bacon prices. They really do suck.

Charles Gramlich said...

I was just talking about the "illusion" in a review I did last night.