Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Speedbumps

There is a fantastic story in the Globe & Mail this morning, all to do with a mob informant and it got me thinking. Link

My first story (Her Sanctuary) was based on mobsters and organized crime investigators forcing my heroine on the run. I read a lot of biographies from real mobsters because even though mob life wasn't the focus of my story, it was a massive part of the backstory and obviously provided my villain.

I must have cut 50 pages of Soprano-style house bugging and carefully constructed gangster hierarchy LOL. But I believe I achieved some minor level of authenticity. I did make things up, I did invent an FBI unit so I could control the scenario more easily and more effectively.

One thing I have noticed about Karen Marie Moning's book 'To tame a highland warrior' (and just to note, I loved this book, and this is a critical appraisal from someone who'd give it 8/10, and I'm VERY fussy). There is no authenticity in terms of accent and even plain old geography.

I've been shaking my head as the hero and heroine head north into the Highlands to Dalkeith. Ahem. You're going the wrong way seems kind of stupid to shout at imaginary characters, but what can I say?

And the dialect? Urgh.

Well yesterday's post probably demonstrated that using authentic dialogue would kill a Scottish romance novel deader than the dark side of Pluto, but putting a cockney barkeep in the Highlands isn't so hot either (we don't ave barkeeps, an' I ain't neva 'eard of a cockney 'Ighlander)

So my question from my rambling post (and yes I have had a series of very disturbed nights, thanks for asking), is what pulls you out of a story? Do you need the details correct or do you just let them go and enjoy the flow of words on the page?

3 comments:

  1. I can forgive a lot for the sake of rockin' fiction ... but major geographical errors do tend to pull me out of a tale.

    I've never read the story you refer to, Toni, but am wondering if the word 'barkeep' is in a Scottish POV, or another? Or ... if perhaps that was something that could have happened at a copy editing stage.

    I also think that the closer to home the novel one reads is set, the more critical one tends to be.

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  2. It is a historical, and they're all supposed to be Scots. And it is a good story. Barkeep could be a copyeditor, for sure :)

    My reason for asking is because I'm writing my NY story LOL. And I'm curious because OK, US readers might not care about the details in a historical Scottish romance, but what about a modern story set in a major US city. I'm curious :)

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  3. Just my 0.2 cents, but a major US city needs to have authenticity for US readers. And for historicals, nothing throws me off more than errors, especially since I know alot about Scottish history/English history etc. I love Karen Moning Manning, but I had problems with another of her books too. The barkeep was likely a copyeditor, as that's the kind of thing they would likely think a US reader wouldn't *understand* in regular historical terms! LOL! You wouldn't believe the comments I had on my historical 5 yrs ago when it was going around the contest circuit - in the finals - from pubbs who thought I was being "anachronistic" when I was actually being truly medieval. Gave up on historicals right there. And Tooonnniii, you scooped me on my gangster story for my blog...what can I say? :) I've got to stay up later at night!

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