Friday, July 17, 2015

Accuracy vs. Creative License

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I am inspired to write by phrases I hear, people I meet, and places I travel. So it’s only natural that the locations in my books are accurate descriptions. After all, my first book (Hill Country Holdup) began as a writing exercise where I was describing the sounds and smells around me while waiting for fireworks to begin.

The bystanders appeared intent on following their noses, drawn by the aromas of funnel cakes, hamburgers, and roasted corn.”

I travel…a lot within the USA. My stories are about Texas and I use my road trips throughout the state for research. I was very excited about TEXAS RISING on the History channel. BUT WAIT!! There is so much wrong with the filming locations of the mini-series I don’t have room to list. Perhaps a list about what they got correct:
That’s right. It was as bad as Hollywood locating Texas in Utah for all those westerns of old.  This is an excellent Texas Monthly article if you’re interested in the details about the mini-series.
Accuracy VS. Creative License

Creative License gives authors the ability to change and create. There’s even a category of fiction that’s called alternate history. Awesome. I love to read that genre. But I have to say the historical inaccuracies of Texas Rising kept me from enjoying it. When asked about the setting… “Those early episodes were all shot in Durango, Mexico,” said David Marion Wilkinson, a writer and co-producer on the project. “The settings don’t match. San Jacinto was all piney woods and bayous. Gonzales is flat land and farm land. ... But this is entertainment. I don’t think the geography is going to bother too many people.” Wow. Well, geography played a great part in the battle of San Jacinto only lasting 18 minutes…but that’s a history lesson. Let’s suffice it to say that I’m not the only Texan the film bothered.

We recently watched an episode of Criminal Minds located in central Florida and there were mountains (YES…MOUNTAINS) out the car window. Yes, it’s fiction. I get that. And I totally get where every window shot for a television series filmed in Vancouver might not be accurate. But when I enjoy reading fiction, it’s partly because I learn something. Or at least I hope I do.

I want an author to blend the fiction of the story with a bit of accuracy. Believable characters, travel times, how cells react in a location, how the setting makes a difference in the location, ranch life, beach life… Accuracy makes the story more believable (at least for me). Yes, it bothers me when authors get their facts mixed-up about Texas but… I also want to learn about New England island life, or Montana, or life in urban Chicago vs downtown Chicago. I’m just a firm believe that the setting of a story plays a vital role in what would happen in the story. The setting is the reason a story can’t take place anywhere else.

At least for me.

From Austin, Texas, the location of BULLETPROOF BADGE, Texas Rangers: Elite Troop #2, Harlequin Intrigue February 2016

From our latest road trip to Dalhart, Texas, the location of SHOTGUN JUSTICE, Texas Rangers: Elite Troop #2, Harlequin Intrigue March 2016

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ANGI MORGAN writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi's work has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Carolyn Readers Choice, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier.
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Accuracy or Creative License? Which do you prefer?

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  1. HI. Angi. Wonderful topic for a post. I'm all for creative license, but I do like it blended with a measure of accuracy. When an author takes the time to learn the setting and history of an area, I'm impressed. I have no problem with them modifying some things to suit their stories. Many of my favorite authors do that, presenting a wonderful blend of fiction and accuracy!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I love those types of authors, too !!

  2. Love your books and the reality that you offer through details that build the story. Most of my friends totally hated that they rode horses to Galveston Island and some of the other inaccuracies. I can overlook some inaccuracies and know that some changes are needed to place the story in an existing place but I do expect the author to know and acknowledge the difference.

    1. Yep Yep Yep
      And thanks for reading my stuff...makes my day to hear about it.

  3. Creative License for sure. I want a great story foremost with the facts entwined.

    1. I brought up the subject with writers yesterday. They mentioned they were yanked from the TV series or movie or the book as soon as they recognized landscape that was incorrect. haha

  4. Because I love books

    yenastone at aol dot com

  5. Accuracy, hands down. I'm okay with a smidgen of creative license but just a smidgen. Make the locations, the diseases, the history, accurate. If you take liberties, that should be mentioned in an author's note. Accuracy helps with believability and makes it easier, for me anyway, to suspend belief when/if it's necessary in the story.

    As for the Rafflecopter question, I am always looking for new to me romantic suspense authors. :)