There comes a point in researching a book where you have to trust what you know.
My poor husband is so tired of watching World War I movies, that he actually brightened a moment when I brought home a famous WWII movie–until he saw it was Saving Private Ryan.
It has to. I’m 80% done writing the book.
My husband’s an engineer who mastered math and science in school. He never worried about tests because he knew the hard fact subject matter. Plug in the formula, write out the answer. Simple.
I come from the liberal arts side of campus where answers were seldom definitive and subject to interpretation no matter who wrote out the “facts.”
I never felt like I mastered subject matter. There always was another book to read, another opinion to seek, another side of the story.
That plays into my life when it’s time to write a novel. I’ve written before about knowing when to quit researching and just write, but there’s another side of the experience: knowing when to trust what you know.
Sure, I could go back and verify when a fact happened, what exact day General Allenby took Jerusalem, but if it’s not germane to my story (only peripherally), I don’t need to double check the date.
I’m writing a novel, I don’t need the exact information. I can trust what I know about the events and write them as beautifully as possible.
That’s what art is, right? An artist/novelist’s rendition of an event. It’s colored by what I know about the facts and how they need to be presented in my story.
The fact I’ve read a library full of books, watched innumerable movies, listened to all sorts of WWI songs on Youtube and bored everyone I know silly with the war, is immaterial.
Surely you the reader trust that I’ve done my homework? Click to Tweet
Do I need to prove anything more than I’ve written a story of interest? Click to Tweet
That’s what I’m banking on. :-)
Because I trained as a journalist back in the dark ages, I’m a little more fervent about facts than, perhaps, others.
But do you, the reader care about the exact date of Allenby’s arrival in Jerusalem?
Then why should I?
Because, for me, it makes a difference.
December 9, 1917.
Do you trust what you know?
I double checked. :-)
And got the date right.
When do you trust yourself with any facts? Do you double check everything? Why?