Freedom With Fiction

 

This morning a friend called and asked me if I'd read my reviews lately. She knows I don't read reviews and haven't for a long time. It's her standard lead in when she feels like she needs to tell me something important.

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"Well, it's the shower thing. Another person mentioned it."

"Ok."

"What are you going to do?"

"Absolutely nothing."

This never goes over well. She thinks I should try to please everyone to gain a wider audience. I just can't do that. When I wrote 1929 I knew there were no showers in the tenements. They were lucky to have a bathroom at all. Most of the time there was one filthy toilet room on each floor for everyone to share. I knew that there were mostly coal-burning stoves instead of fireplaces. And I tried writing it like that. But in my mind's eye I saw it differently. Showers and fireplaces were in the more modern, well to do houses at the time. Was it a stretch to add an old rusty pipe leading from the faucet to a crude shower head into the tenement? Sure. For the most part, it isn't historically accurate. And apparently, some people are getting hung up on that. At first I tried to justify it by thinking that perhaps the previous tenant was a shipbuilder and created it himself. I went through a dozen scenarios to justify its presence to myself. And then I realized I didn't have to justify it. It was just there and it wouldn't be the same if it wasn't. It was a stretch, but it's fiction. I have creating freedom with fiction. And it isn't as if Jonathan pulled out his iPhone while dodging a horse and buggy in the middle of the 1929 Stock Market crash. Even if I were tempted, the Muse would kill me if I tried to delete shower scene. It's her favorite. And in case the nit-pickers forgot, on one of the first pages there are two words. For Lisa. This whole thing started out as entertainment for just her and I. My working title was a joke between us. It was called, "Killing time til Diana Gabaldon puts out another book." That's a mouthful so we shortened it to 1929.

So, if the shower or fireplace caused someone to put down the book, I'm sorry. Will I change it? No way. I have to be true to what I see. And I have to write not to please the masses, but as I have from the start. For Lisa.

Posted on November 9, 2013 .