Serendipity: First Things First, or, How You Yourself (Maybe Even I) Can Be a Writer
In a paragraph about the importance of getting facts right, primarily nonfiction writer Rebecca Solnit added this: Fiction operates under different rules but it often has facts in it too, and your credibility rests on their accuracy. (If you want to make up facts, like that Emily Bronte was nine feet tall and had wings but everyone in that Victorian era was too proper to mention it, remember to get the details about her cobbler and the kind of hat in fashion at the time right, and maybe put a little cameo at her throat seven and a half feet above the earth.) I might not have thought of exactly the same example, but it’s something I’ve adhered to too for a long, long time, that research has a place in fiction writing. Even in poetry. And it’s advice I’ve read elsewhere, often in passing in diverse places like TV GUIDE, and something I’ve brought up from time to time in my writers group as well. We, as fiction writers, are in the business of telling lies, but getting the little factual bits of it right is what gets the readers to, at least for the moment, believe us.
By pure coincidence, from the post just below, how does a 21st century vampiress first contact her prey? Why over the internet, of course — or at least that might work. But writer Solnit has more to say to us, which, generally speaking, I think is wise and worth repeating. And this contact, too, was over the internet, specifically (and quite serendipitously) through the aegis of Facebook courtesy of Brooke Nicole Plummer.
The article is “How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips from Rebecca Solnit” on LITHUB.COM, and can be found here (the picture, incidentally, is of Oscar Wilde, who was a writer).