Thursday, January 27, 2011

Credibility Issues

Thanks to my readers, I’ve uncovered some wonderful ideas on how to integrate facts into fiction.

In regard to the credibility issue of my juvenile heroine in THE TRAZ opening a bank account on her own, one readers suggested Katrina could phone the bank to discuss account policies or she could pick up a brochure on juvenile accounts. Although this would satisfy some, I’m not sure it would work for everyone, since an astute reader would quickly realize that the phone call or the brochure was as fictional as all else in the story, i.e. not necessarily credible.

I had an idea of my own—have an old and wise character relay the information that juvenile accounts are easily opened. If readers view a character as wise as trustworthy, they will likely be willing to believe (at least in the context of the story) what he says.

I could have had Katrina's grandfather say, “Katrina, did you know you can open a bank account in your name and your parents wouldn’t be able to touch it?” However, I wove this information in more seamlessly by having the grandfather gift Katrina a sum of money and tell her to go to his bank and ask for a certain teller who was expecting her. He told Katrina that by opening an account of her own, her alcoholic mother wouldn’t be able to misspend the money on booze.

I was very happy with the way that turned out. It didn’t seem at all like I was forcing an issue, sticking in facts to make sure readers knew I’d done my research, or overworking a detail that, in the long run, has little to do with the plot.

Perhaps, if writers create credible characters that readers can bond with, that credibility will naturally spill over into the action, plot, and scenes. Perhaps?

For further discussion on credible characters, I invite you to read my article "Credible Crime Characters" at

Eileen Schuh


Lisette Brodey said...

Great blog, Eileen. I'm all for doing one's research. While many readers may not even notice incorrect information, others will, and it can be so glaring that it just takes the reader away from the story. And we certainly do NOT want to do that, do we? :-)

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Lisette.

Some genres allow writers and readers to fly freely with their imaginations while others demand a high degree of credibility.

I'm still exploring the various writing techniques that skilled writers use to satisfy their readers' expectations.

Sarah Butland said...

Very wise way of looking at this type of situation, Eileen. I'm just sorry I didn't read this post earlier :)

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks for visiting, Sarah. And thnks for the kind comments. Please visit my website and enter to win a plethora of books from authors participating in my Trivia Contest.
You are welcome to participate as an author, too, if you like.