I admit it, I'm a stickler for details. I want my work to be as authentic as possible. Guess that's why the movie my husband and I recently went to see irritated me with their lack of authenticity. I'm talking about the movie 'Interstellar', with Matthew McConaughey. The movie took place on a farm, with the harvest in the background. The problem, nothing was correct. A simple Google search would have told the director corn is harvested when the stalk is mature (dried out and yellowed with age) not green and just tasseled. There is nothing to harvest at this stage of the crop. Even if they were trying to harvest sweet corn, which it wasn't in the movie, that is not the time to pick. Another mistake was the equipment. A combine can only hold a few rounds of harvested crop. It needs to unload its treasure into something - a wagon, a truck. A combine is not made to hold a whole field. But nary a truck, wagon or bin were on sight. Again, a little Google search would have explained that. As the movie progressed, I wondered what other tidbits about the science of space were out of wack as well.
These are small infractions, yet they threw me out of the movie.
I remember when my father read my first book, Memories Trail. It was still in draft form. The book takes place in the early 1800's. I had a segment where my character hunts pheasant for food. I thought nothing of it until my dad informed me pheasants did not exist in the United States at that time. Heh? I was dumbfounded. But sure enough, a little research told me the pheasant did not arrive until the 1880's. And for those trivia buffs, the ring-necked pheasant came from Asia. The fix proved simple enough, but I had not done my homework. Thank goodness my dad is a pretty smart fella!
Recently I attended the play, Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale. It's at Water Tower Place and I believe will be there through Christmas. This play is family oriented and full of good laughs and sing-along holiday songs. The plot is ... the leader of the heavy metal band thinks he makes a deal with Satan to become famous. And the band does find success, but not as they wanted. Every time they begin to play, Christmas carols come out, not the heavy metal noise they like to create. What they finally realize is that their contract with the devil was actually a letter to Santa! Santa gives them an early Christmas present - success through their holiday songs! The band leader, we find out, is a terrible speller. He thought he wrote SATAN on the contract, when he actually wrote SANTA. It's a delightful spoof on lack of details.
So be prepared to go the distance when it comes to researching your material. I usually have more than I could ever use, but I also know I have dug deep into the era I'm writing in. I've learned about the topic I need to become an expert in. And my work is better because of it.
Til next time ~
PS: Memories Trail is available in e-book format. Go to: