Do you believe everything you read?

too-much-information-1As an author, it’s my job to make readers think that the characters and situations in my books are believable.

Most writers research their books carefully to make their work credible and to enrich them with telling details that bring the story to life for the reader. I’m absolutely not taking a pop at them. It’s just that I think I’m a particularly quirky reader because I sometimes find myself reading something I sort of trip up over and then have to stop reading to think about, something that nobody else ever seems to feel the need to mention. I do understand that there are some things that readers just do not need to know, and I’ve been on the receiving end of ‘Too much information!’ messages from editors, but I’m still going to share a few of my reading quirks with you.

  • Hero and heroine leap into bed together. Whaaat? Nobody needed to nip to the loo first? And the heroine hasn’t taken off her make up.
  • Hero and heroine wake up together and immediately begin making love, including lavish kisses. See above! Plus, what about morning breath? And is the heroine’s mascara now forming great black smudges beneath her eyes? That is not a good look.
  • Heroine has had a baby and hero has no inkling, despite having made love to her. So she doesn’t have a single stretch mark? Not ONE? Wow. Did she use bio oil?
  • Villains fire off round after round of automatic weapon fire at hero and he crouches, wincing, behind a rock, but doesn’t suffer a scratch. He, on the other hand, with a handheld gun, is able to pick the villains off at will. So, if he gained this prowess via military service, was he categorised as a marksman? With this particular weapon?And how long ago was that? Maybe it’s a facility that doesn’t need honing at regular intervals? Or maybe being in fear of his life just bring it back in a hurry?
  • Character has a dog. I watch carefully to make certain someone takes the dog out regularly and feeds it. Otherwise, I will have to make a report to the RSPCA. (NB Every time I have a dog in a book I swear it’s the last time. The damned thing is almost as much trouble as a real one.)
  • Characters get soaked, either by torrential rain or through falling into a body of water. They get no opportunity to change their clothes and they just seem to cope. I must be such a wimp. I feel physically uncomfortable until I know they’ve been able to change, preferably after a nice warm shower and a cup of tea.

I can imagine readers everywhere saying ‘But I seriously do not need to know that my characters go to the toilet or pick up after the dog!’ and I completely agree. But it doesn’t stop me thinking …

Is it only me? Or do you have reading quirks, too?

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-07-43-52Sue’s next book, Just for the Holidays, has just entered production ready for 18th May publication. You can see that the cover isn’t quite ready but here’s the blurb:

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

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17 thoughts on “Do you believe everything you read?

  1. This rings very true!
    Likewise, I would say, problems arising in anything historical… e.g. Victorian servants. You definitely have to keep an eye on them! The Lady of the house may forget they’re listening, but we certainly can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point. Writing in period brings its own problems, doesn’t it? I’ve always thought it must be hard making a woman living in the time where she had no control over her own life acceptable to 21st Century readers.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Do you believe everything you read? – Take Five Authors – Jenny Harper Author

  3. You’re so right, Sue! Actually, I have just spent ages researching into exactly what the sewage system was in Edinburgh’s 18th-century newly-built New Town. I know they built one, but I’m not clear about how many people were connected to it. I think they had to pay extra. And I’m also not sure whether the houses actually had bathrooms – they certainly wouldn’t have been plumbed in, nor, if there were toilets, would they have been flushing ones. All of which was a bit of a sidetrack, but then … for authenticity …

    As for dogs – I have three (currently) in the first draft of my new historical. It spans 40 years, so one just won’t do. However, I do forget about the creatures quite a lot – nor do I want them to take over – help! More thought needed.

    Thanks for a laugh, I loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jenny. So it’s not just me who thinks about sanitation! Phew.

      I have a baby owl in my WIP and he’s proving problematic, too. I move my story on a month and I have to research him all over again because he would have changed so much in that time!

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  4. Love this post. So agree re dogs and cats and even kids. You have to pick them up from school , take them to school and don’t forget the holidays. We’re thinking twice about having a dog in our next novel. All that feeding and walking and taking out 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about adding children in novels especially romance with a single mother character. Sometimes the child isn’t mentioned for whole chapters and I’m like “hang on where’s your kid” other times I notice they are just sent off to nana’s for a while. Good old nana she always comes through 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree Sue. Nothing drags me out of a story faster than something that doesn’t seen real. Like you, I research all my books to make sure I get it right. I am always surprised by how willing people are to help. Looking forward to the new book.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love this post Sue because these are the things I do quite often think about when I’m reading. I once read a fantasy novel where the author intricately describe the sewerage system in the medieval town. I thought it was really funny but I’ve often wondered while reading some books “when did they go to the toilet”? Another story had characters tracking through a woods for days but no mention of food. These thoughts don’t take me too far away from my reading but sometimes they just pop into my head.
    Love the sound of Just for the Holidays, looking forward to it

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m letting myself be sidetracked even more than usual but I have to say that I recently saw a documentary on sewage system and, apart from being revolting, it was fascinating! And made me glad I didn’t work in one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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