Research and Dog’s Testicles

4, July,2007

There is a joke. Why do dogs lick their balls?…Because they can.

What has this got to do with writing and research? Well, recently I abandoned a book I was reading and I’m a bit annoyed about it. I feel cheated. I was quite enjoying the story.

It thought it was going to be a medieval fantasy with a slight historical leaning; it turned out to be more of a historical novel with a slight fantasy leaning. Not a big problem, lots of action, the characters were shaping up nicely.

Then the historical accuracies started to intrude.

You know, I really don’t care what they called a horse brush in 16th century France. And the Samurai – I know he’s Japanese, he’s a Samurai. I don’t need the the pace bogged down by him not understanding English and Western Culture. Set up the character, make the point and move on.

The point I’m trying to make is, the reader should not be aware of how much research you have done. A work of fiction is allowed to gloss over some things to keep the story moving.

So the message – Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

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