Writing Tip #11

Even after the writing/revising is done, be on the lookout for news items that could affect your story. This week, I blogged about the recent ban on drop-side cribs and how this changes Baby Grand. Although it affects the novel in a teeny tiny way, I feel it’s necessary to make a slight adjustment in order to create a more authentic story. As I mentioned in one of my comments when a reader suggested I just leave the manuscript as is, it would be akin to having a character purchase a rotary phone or a Walkman — if these things are not currently being sold “in real life,” the reader just won’t buy it in a fictional world. In some ways it’s no different from last year when Robyn Silverman and I finished working on Good Girls Don’t Get Fat and both continued to look for news items or elements that would keep the book fresh, filled with the most up-to-date info. Throughout the copyediting process and up until the very last moment, new studies, new TV shows were being introduced that would better illustrate points and make the book even better, and we wanted to get them in there. Even though Baby Grand is fiction, I look at it the same way since it’s contemporary and taking place pretty much as the reader reads it. Had it been a historical or period novel, then, yes, it would be a completely different — and far less stressful — story. The drop-side cribs, the rotary phones, the Walkmans… they could all live happily ever after.

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