These days it seems that writers get away with a lot—misspelled names, flat dialogue, illogical action, incorrect information, and putting real sites/locations in places where they shouldn’t be, to name a few. Fortunately, if you’re with a publisher, there’ll likely be an editor that will [hopefully] catch and fix the flaws.
As someone who’s been writing a long time—and readily admits to being old-school (where grammar and punctuation and spelling still count)—it’s rather, hmm, annoying to read work that demonstrates indifference. But that’s another post and another rant. <LOL>
So, folks, what shall we focus on today? Hmmm. Given I recently edited a historical story, let’s touch upon sites and times.
If you’re going to provide real settings, ensure all related details are accurate.
Spell the venue’s name correctly, give accurate location information, and appropriately depict the time/era you’re writing in.
The Eiffel Tower is in Paris, not Chartres. The address for the Rockefeller Center is 45 Rockefeller Plaza, not 33 Rockefeller Way. Hansom cabs did not exist in the Bronze Age, so do not put them there (unless you’re writing sci-fi and your characters are time travelers).
When a writer-associate was called on something re an iconic venue he’d used in his book (specifically, wrong streets) he offered a shrug and a simple reason (excuse): it’s fiction. Sure, the book is a work of fiction; the venue, however, is not. Endeavor to get it right. It’s not just about breathing life into your story, it’s about creating credibility for yourself as a professional.
Editing can prove daunting, no question. And if you’re not up for it, then refrain from an intensive edit—leave that to someone else—but do check your facts and confirm consistency (don’t use multiple spellings, for example). Clean up the manuscript to the best of your ability and patience. Think of it as using a feather duster: an effective method to perform a quick clean-up (edit).
Consider: integrity. What image do you want to convey about you—the author? Many of us write for the love of it but, if we’re going to be honest, we wouldn’t mind generating [ample] sales, too.
But sales will only come if the product is “sellable” and “readable”. So make your story the best it can be—by checking those, uh-huh, facts.