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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Two Sense Worth

It behooves an author to confirm the sensibility of each scene. Put another way: does the crafted word-picture make sense?

In a good novel I just completed, one aspect of one of the scenes didn’t make sense. Two good guys had just defeated part of a cell of terrorists in a isolated mountainous hideout. But some of the bad guys got away, and the stranded good guys (on foot with no vehicle) lamented not having a cell phone – both of theirs having been lost in the hills – to call for additional support. Four dead or incapacitated terrorists were strewn about . . . and given their previously described high-tech operation, each would undoubtedly have had a cell phone or likely even a satellite phone. But the author did not have them check the bad guys for such.

In corresponding with the author, he said: “Oops,” and noted that the same effect (no commo) could have been accomplished finding a varmint’s phone, but no cell phone signal in the valley. A sat-phone could have been destroyed in the foregoing battle.

This discovery brought to my mind the need to check and double-check the reality of each situation crafted in my novels. Does the scene make sense? Does it conform to reality, especially the reality I’m attempting to create in my storyline?

This concern also reinforces the highly-advised practice of having beta-readers (first readers) go over a manuscript, and instructing them to, among other guidelines, look for this very thing.

Fiction allows playing with reality, but even given that fact, it still needs to make sense.

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