Good morning Bookaholics. I bring you this post from a sunny Scotland. I'm thinking about writing and reality this morning. This before I've even had my morning cornflakes.
As I write this blog the UK has been to the polls. This was a momentous vote the results of which will have a huge impact on our country, not only now but for many years. Now, before you get worried this is not a political post. Far from it in fact. This is a post about writing.
As writers we always strive for accuracy and to make our books as realistic as possible. We take great care to set the books in context and to give readers a sense of place and time. It is time which I am thinking of and debating in my head today. Do we pin our colours fully to the mast, ensuring accuracy, or do we use some other means to get our point across?
My post so far has been unambiguous. I have not referred to any particular poll. Anyone reading this post today will know exactly what I am talking about. Anyone in the future will get a general sense that something big has happened but it will not be dated. For the purposes of clarity I am talking about the EU Referendum. Now that I have said this I have now given a firm date stamp to my writing. This is necessary for this particular piece.
But, as writers, what do we do in our books? We often write, Johnny was playing with his Xbox, or Susan was watching such and such a movie. This gives a sense of realism and is what gives our book human touches. It also immediately sets the book in a particular time. Obviously, in a historical novel, this is a good thing. There is a difference between historical and dated.
So how do we, as writers, handle this? One way is to use ambiguous writing as I did at the start of this piece. The reader will immediately fill in the blanks and use whatever poll has happened most recently. Another is to use real life examples which are not going to change any time soon. For example using an Apple computer, or Famous Grouse Whiskey. This may be a bit more difficult when talking about technology, especially which youngsters use.
It is an interesting concept. I would be interested in your views on this. All advice will be gratefully received in the comments below.