Keep It Believable

writing 101 keep it believable
The fact that it really happened doesn’t mean it’s good story material.

Writers often use details and specifics to weave in richness and a sense of reality.  So you might be tempted to mention Richmond, Virginia’s recent weather–Japanese cherry trees and hyacinths blooming in December–

–a temperature in the upper 70s on Christmas Eve, a rosebud or daffodil sprouts in January.

But unless unseasonably warm weather is part of your plot line, DON’T DO IT.

Details that are atypical but irrelevant are likely to take readers out of the story while they stop to think it over. Even worse, they might conclude that you don’t know what you are talking about–thus accomplishing the opposite of your intent!

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