But getting some of the details right is important. So research is necessary. But how much is too much? I was reading a historical romance where the author went into the aspects of how vomit and dog feces were part of a medieval castle's decor, and the same with how unsanitary the streets were. Uhm, okay, yes, it's true. But though it's realistic, I really had a hard time with seeing the hero and heroine in a romantic light when I'm thinking of them wading through such unsanitized conditions. :)
On the other hand, some things are important. We don't have noreasters in Texas. They're called blue northers here. :) And I was just checking on snowmobiles--do they have headlights that stay on for safety sake all of the time? Yes, according to some snowmobilers from up north. We don't have them in Texas. :) So another lady on the loop that I had asked, said be sure you know what they're really called in the area where the story takes place. I had already, but this is like the blue northers we have here. In the Canadian Arctic, the snowmobiles were called skidoos. But since the hero and heroine aren't from there, they call them snowmobiles. The lady that talked to me about this said she works for an insurance company and was insuring a snow machine, but didn't know what it was. :) A snowmobile.
That's like wolves too. Timber, Mexican, Arctic wolves, the Rocky Mountain wolf are all gray wolves. Red wolves are a different species of wolf. Did you know that gray wolves are an Ice Age survivor? :)
So getting the details right can be important--my critique partner asked me if there was any daylight in the Canadian Arctic--5 hours in December on the shortest day, so yes. The details are important. I can't have a really long day at that time of year. And how cold is it? The characters are running around in the wilderness. Hmm, -19.7 C is the high, -27.7 the low. Maybe I'll pick an earlier month! Now if I go with November, I can mention the hero and heroine missing Thanksgiving, or celebrating it in Canada, but Canadians will have already celebrated their Thanksgiving the second Monday in October. So getting the facts straight is important!
As writers, what have you included in your stories that adds to the realism, and what have you left out as interesting tidbits (like my Ice Age surviving wolves) that isn't relevant or necessary to tell the story?
And as readers, what have you learned that you might not have known about while reading a fictional story?
Contest!! Guest blogging at Bitten by Books today, so check out the contest:
Heart of the Wolf/Don't Cry Wolf/Betrayal of the Wolf/Allure of the Wolf