Have you ever wondered just how far an author can go when creating a work of fiction?
Naturally artistic license is used and it can be anywhere from ‘tweek the truth’ to ‘utter balderdash’.
Now hang on a minute, does that mean authors can just make stuff up? Well, yes, to a degree.
The key to whether or not readers will tolerate artistic license, hinges on the author’s ability to develop a world where it’s plausible.
So let’s look at the boundaries of probability to determine what is realistic.
It seems plausible for a troubled teenager to turn to drugs, and you might even believe a housewife turned spy, but can you trust a six legged alien that saved planet Earth? Sure, if the author has shown you the alien’s motivation for wanting to put itself in harms way to perform this grand feat.
An author can say that bullets move in circles when shot from a gun if you’re bold, but any gun (or TV) savvy reader is going to put the story aside and not come back to it. They know bullets don’t move like that and you will have lost their belief. On the other hand, if the author explains why bullets move this way in the world they’ve created, e.g. atmosphere or magic, then they have set the parameters of reality and the reader is likely to accept it.
What you don’t want is for an equine expert to read that the hero tied the saddle on with rope, when it ought to be buckled with a girth. Yep, you guessed it. He’s going to put the story aside and never enjoy the brilliant climax the author spent months perfecting.
It all comes down to the appearance of being real.
Here are some more of my favourite authors who stretch facts like chewing gum, wrap them around their fingers and occasionally get them stuck in their hair:
* Russell Blake – Action-packed suspense, international spies and fight scenes to rival James Bond movies. Are all of the incredible and disturbing facets of his books true? Who the hell cares, it’s too much fun devouring them to get stuck on tiny little specifics like that!
* Janet Evanovich - A broke, kinda single woman with attitude enough to land her a new job as a bounty hunter. Now all she has to do is learn to hold a gun, catch bad guys and sort out her love life...
* Helen Young – Romantic suspense where characters are not always what they seem. Plenty of troubles threatening Australia’s boarders and way of life. Can pilots, housewives and undercover cops survive the disasters thrown at them? Well, maybe with a little help from this author’s pen.
* Josie Brown– A mild-mannered housewife who doesn't take shit from anyone (except the kids) is involved in murder, suspense and sex, which is all wrapped in a polite, neat package with a pistol slipped under the covers.
I sure would like to know what fantastic stories you've been enjoying lately. Drop me a line at any one of my sites.