One Writer’s Journey

October 17, 2018

Facts: Accuracy Is a Must

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:42 am
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Facts.  It doesn’t matter if you are writing fiction or nonfiction.  You have got to get them right.  If you don’t, you’ll alienate your reader.

That’s why I dug in my heels this week when my editor wanted me to make a change on my manuscript.  The content consultant wanted me to discuss the things teens post on Facebook.

Me:  You mean social media.

Her:  No, he said Facebook.

Me:  Teens aren’t that into Facebook.  We’re on it.

When you are talking social media, you have to know who you are talking about to know what they use.  Oldsters may be looking for what teens post on Facebook.  But that’s not where the teens are posting.  And if I say that they are, I’m going to lose my teen readers.  Thanks but no.  I worked really hard to get them.

And they aren’t the only ones who take inaccuracy seriously.  I just finished an adult novel.  A big deal scientist is discussing evolution.  He talks about people descending from apes.

I took a deep breath.  Maybe just maybe something had been botched in editing.  It’s a super picky point.  Darwin didn’t say we descended from apes.  Or monkeys.  He said we shared a common ancestor.

Then the scientists watch a computer model plot the path between chimpanzee and human.

Ugh.

I used to really enjoy this author.  Used to.  The book also had errors about the Dark Web and now I feel like I need to check up on everything that was said about Francisco Franko and Antoni Guadi.

It doesn’t matter if you are writing fiction or nonfiction, you have got to get the facts straight.  When you say X person who developed this theory said Z, you need to have sources.  When you say that scientists, historians, or dieticians believe W, then you need the information to back that up.

Readers are fickle creatures.  Offend them often enough and they won’t be your readers much longer.

–SueBE

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December 14, 2016

The Balancing Act that Is Nonfiction

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:45 am
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balanceHopefully when you read this I’ll have a full draft done on my next book.  Hopefully.  I’m only about 1/3 of the way through my last chapter and my willpower is more like won’t-power at the moment.

In this first draft, I do try to get everything in the right order but I don’t worry about things being smooth and perfect.  Or not.

I also don’t worry too much about whether or not I have enough information.  That’s something I’m going to address in the next draft.

When I prepared chapter 1 and my outline last week, my chapter was way too long.  This wasn’t a problem that I could correct by cutting a word here and a word there.  I had to eliminate entire paragraphs.  This meant less background information and fewer examples.

As I draft chapters 2 through 5, I’ve noticed that my word count is very close to perfect.  The reason that this worries me is that I should have to edit a paper draft to tighten things up.  This should be when I get rid of those extra words especially -ly adverbs or replacing a weak verb with two adverbs with a single strong verb.

I suspect that, as I worry about surpassing my word count yet again, I’m being too cautious.

I always have to add more information when I write the second draft.  That’s when I fill in the blanks — things that weren’t in my notes or that obviously need clarification with another example.  Instead of spending the time to do a great deal of research, I simply type a question or comment in CAPS and then highlight it.  When completing draft 2, I go back and do the research needed to fill these blanks in.  This time around I’ll be rereading each chapter and looking for places that the information isn’t dense enough.  I’ll add to any area that seems a bit weak.  Then I’ll cut to make it all fit.

I want to give my readers as much information as possible without overwhelming them.  As are so many things with writing, its a balancing act.  Here’s to leveling things out in the next draft!

–SueBE

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