Any fiction author, regardless of genre, understands the importance of making their writing believable. Creating an imaginary world that seems plausible is the difference between a page-turner and dust collector. While your readers are craving fantasy, horror, and the like, they would rather starve than follow a story that fails to ring true.
Case and point: We all know those movies where the acting is so amateur we give it 2 minutes of our time and move on. The same goes for a novel. If the dialogue sounds unnatural —a stretch from everyday discourse — your book will be shelved in record time. The same result will be had if the storyline seems like it could never happen in real life.
For example, this reader’s review of my novel Blood Orchard in 2013 simply stated: ‘I can't even give a detailed review outlining why it was so bad, that's how ridiculous the whole thing was.’
While this made me chuckle, the word “ridiculous” could refer to a number of things the reader disliked. I chock it up to believability. Maybe the reader had a hard time buying into the plot of a second disappearance of triplets in a remote small town. I mean, has that even ever happened before?? Excuse me, while I re-write this novel.
All joking aside, the truth in fiction for that particular book required massive amounts of research. From police procedure to bodily decomposition, it all needed to be accurate. The characters might exist in a fantasy world, but their actions should never raise doubt.
Take this reader’s review of my recent novel The Witching Well from Grinning Skull Press: “Well-written with a truly relatable protagonist, the book rides suspense and mystery through to the gripping conclusion.” The reader could relate to the main character, which meant the dialogue and behavior were true enough to life. A reader should always be able to relate to the protagonist.
As an author, I probably spend as much time researching facts as I do writing. If the story is going to be steampunk, I need to have a solid understanding of how steam power works. If I’m going to pen a crime novel, I better know investigative methodologies like the back of my hand.
The bottom line is research and incorporate ample truth in your fiction so your reader finishes the book with a smile.
S.D. Hintz has published several short stories and novels over the past decade. He is also the former Editor-in-Chief of KHP Publishers.
He currently resides in Minnesota with his wife and two children.
It's the end of the world…
…as Murray Macabe knows it. The security of his home life has been ripped out from under him when his mother was brutally murdered. Rejected by his aunt, Murray only has one place left to go, and that's to live the rest of his life with a woman he barely knows.
To Grandmother's House He Goes
At first, life with his grandmother doesn't seem like it's going to be that bad, but Murray soon learns his grandmother harbors dark secrets.
Double, Double Toil and Trouble; Fire Burn and Caldron Bubble
As bad as Grandma's secrets might be, they are nothing compared to the secrets held by the neighbors, three elderly women who have set their sights on Murray for their own dastardly purposes. Soon Murray finds himself fighting for his very life, and there's no one to turn to for help because everyone knows there's no such thing as witches.