Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How important is factual accuracy in fiction?

Someone who’s a police academy graduate, majored in criminology for 2 years, and who is currently a Fire Prevention Officer has slated my novel The Kult on Goodreads.com and given it a one star review: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6393198-the-kult

The reviewer stated that the book was slow and the characters uninteresting, and he read it with a critical eye regards the police aspect, and was disappointed that it contained so many flaws.

Okay, I try not to write anything that reads slow, as I personally don’t like slow books, so I kind of disagree with that one, as for the characters being uninteresting, well I guess that’s down to personal opinion. But I’m more interested in the factual accuracy aspect. When I wrote the novel, I wrote it as a piece of fiction. I did some research, but knowing that I would never be able to get all the facts regarding police procedure correct, I tried to gloss over much of that side of it. A police officer friend of mine told me that if I did write it accurately, it would be boring, as most police work is boring.

So what are other people’s opinions on the importance of factual accuracy in fiction?

And for those who don’t know, there has been an issue with the company that lists the books ISBN, and publisher details, and because of a cock-up, the book was locked out of the system. It is listed on Amazon, but as unavailable. But it is available direct from the publisher at the moment for $8.95. It might also be orderable from bookshops, but I’m not 100% sure on that because of the listing problem, but you could always try. Anyway, here are the details for ordering etc:




Title: The Kult
Author: Shaun Jeffrey
Publisher: Leucrota Press
ISBN-10: 0980033985
ISBN-13: 978-0980033984


Toni Stauffer said...

Heya, Shaun

No matter what, there will always be some 'expert' out there who will be critical. You can't let it affect you. If you feel you did the best you could and are happy with it, that is all that matters. Most of your readers will not be 'experts' and will not care, as long as it is a good read. He's probably a Tom Clancy fan.

Shaun said...

That's what I'm hoping, Toni. So far the comments have been good, but I just wondered what peoples thoughts were on this subject. Thanks for replying :)

Rita J. Webb said...

I write science fiction and fantasy. A lot of sci-fi puts great detail into all the boring aspects of how their science works. But I focused mine on the plots and the characters and let the science be a side matter--a touch of frosting on the cake.

So personally, I feel that the focus should not be on the accuracy of these things. But publicly, I think it would depend on the genre and on the audience that you are trying to reach.

And that is for you to decide. Not one jaded critic.

Shaun said...

Thanks for commenting, Rita, and points well made :)