Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On Getting the Details Right

This is from Martin Cruz Smith, in an interview about his book ROSE, a mystery set in a Victorian mining town (thanks to Sphinx Inkfor the link). He really nails my thoughts and feelings on the subject:

“I feel very bad about getting things wrong. I've taken a few liberties, but I wanted them to be liberties I'd taken deliberately. . .The worst thing in the world would be for some [reader] you don't know to say, "He's balled it all up. He doesn't know what he's talking about." …[Y]ou can feel that small buzz of contempt on the periphery of your subconscious, no matter how far away you are, the diminishing of your own enjoyment and their esteem -- their trust really -- because there is a relationship of trust between writer and reader, I think. You are walking a curious tightrope in which you maintain your consciousness of reality, of what is actually possible, which you can then manipulate. But if you get that universe wrong, you are just manipulating stupidity.”


Sphinx Ink said...

Not only is he a wonderful writer, but he's good at talking about writing. I've noticed that not all good writers can explain how or why they write the way they do.

Steve Malley said...

I like my research too, but I do it after I write. If I try to get all my facts in a row before I start, I'd read for years and never write a word.

Sometimes the fixes are pretty drastic, but mostly I just have to change a name or some numbers, that sort of thing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yep, what he said.