June 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

rewritesThis week has been a stressful one for me. Why? Because of that thing every author dreads – a plot problem.

This is hardly the first time I’ve had a plot problem in one of my novels but this one proved to be incredibly tricky, mainly because it was in the manuscript for my soon-to-be-released novel, Once Confronted. Scheduled for release in October this year, my publisher returned the manuscript to me last Monday and told me I needed to have the changes back by early this week. It’s always hard when working to that kind of deadline, especially with a major plot problem, and this problem was major. Two entire chapters have now gone and another had to be mostly rewritten.

All these problems have brought home to me again the necessity of checking facts to make sure things are correct, especially with books set in the real world. This is one of the reasons I prefer to write sci-fi or fantasy. If I’m creating a world, no one can tell me, for example, how its government works. I make those calls. But with a book set in the real world, I need help if it’s in an area outside my expertise.

Also, it’s important to get help from people who realise how important it is to get details right if you want your novel to stand up under scrutiny in the real world. The trouble with this manuscript arose, not because I couldn’t be bothered checking the facts, but because I checked with someone who thought it didn’t matter because it was ‘just a novel’. While for some people this might not be an issue, for me it is. I always try and check with people ‘in the know’ if I’m covering a particular subject, as I never like the thought of people who know a lot about these sorts of things reading it and saying, ‘Huh! Well, that wouldn’t happen.’

Maybe I’m to rigid with that, but I am glad I’ve managed to catch this problem before the book was released. Even though it’s meant that this week has been stressful because of it, it’s worth it for me if the book I release is more true to life. Hopefully, now it’s right.

Have you ever read a book and it was so unrealistic in a particular area that it spoiled your enjoyment of it? Or are you the kind of person who doesn’t worry about that kind of thing? Let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

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