How do you make sure your scenes are real?
First, last times clichés:
In a Pinch – When hard-pressed. The British expression, “at a pinch,” is from the 15th century. See William Caxton in his translation of The Book of Faytes of Armes and of Chyualrye (1489). In 1888 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Black Arrow and used it as “in a pinch.” There’s a related expression “in a jam,” which implies that one is “squeezed” or “compressed,” by circumstances, into a tight spot.
Jet Set – A fashionable social group. This term originated in the 1950s soon after the introduction of jet-propelled aircraft travel. The term caught on rapidly. First applied to the affluent socialites who traveled around the world to fashionable resorts; later it was extended to a wealthy social group in general, whether or not its members actually traveled frequently. Jet set replaced the earlier version smart set, in America anyway.
On the Go – This is a repeated cliché I used in my blog on June 5, 2014. It’s from the 19th century, to be extremely active and busy.
So, how many did you find?
The best way to get a rise out of your reader is to write something that is not true or does not have a ring of truth. To avoid this, what do you do?
In Night Terror, I watched arson films, read books on arson and arsonists, interviewed two arson investigators, several firefighters, paramedics, and nurses. When I first started my book, there was an arson investigator Johnny-on-the-spot, and I had him over for dinner and interviewed him. If I was unsure about a scene, I would ask my husband who was a volunteer firefighter. I also called the local fire department and asked questions to make sure the scene was correct. One of my readers asked me if I was a firefighter.
As far as killing my characters, the best source is D.P. Lyle, M.D. who is a good Samaritan. I have his books: Murder and Mayhem, Forensics for Dummies, and Forensics and Fiction, and by using is website, the Writer’s Medical and Forensics Lab (www.dplylemd.com) he will work with writers and readers to make the stories they write and read more authentic. In my next book, Vanity Killed I emailed Dr. Lyle about my death scene to make sure it worked. I also asked him about a scene in my book I’m working on now.
So, if you don’t want to write a cock and bull story, do your research to make sure each scene is the best it can be.