“Everything is either real or fictional but only the fictional has to make sense.” P araphased from a spy film of several years ago called, The International, it obviously refers to subrosa activities but it made me think of writers of fiction. The idea that fiction has to make sense is something we deal with every time we write. For example, would the OctoMom have made sense until there was an OctoMom?
I read a silly book by the popular writer Patricia Cornwell some years ago that had lots of southern dialect. As I struggled through it, I got to a part where the Guv’nor got a seeing-eye pony. Takes a lot for me not to finish a book, but that did it! I slammed the book shut, marveling that anyone, even Patricia Cornwell, could get a book published with such a silly thing.
Then a friend sent me a website about little ponies being trained as seeing eye ponies and, by the way, Cornwell has an interest in them. Still, I wonder if she would have put them in one of her Kay Scarpetta novels. Hmmmm?
In my latest novel, Backstage at the Whitehouse, I needed a peasant sounding last name for a German housekeeper. My first thought was a friend of my mother’s years ago named Clodfelter. But wait a minute! Does that sound real? Hmmmm?