by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Not necessarily. Especially the “but it really happened that way” kind of facts. Fact is no guarantee it works in fiction writing. Case in point. Saturday I had lunch at my favorite café and antique store with my Mom. She spied a car that had driven up and parked. (Okay, people were driving it.) The car appeared to have a leak under the engine.
Last month I went back out to my garage after getting home and found my Subaru smoking. Engine off. In my non-smoking garage! Towed to the dealer the next day, found out a rock had pierced my oil filter and oil was everywhere. If I had driven it, very possibly rolling Subaru flambé.
So, with safety in mind, Mom told me the driver was a male wearing a yellow shirt and tan shorts. Off I went on a seek and alert mission. Down aisle one I spied a man just inside the front door with yellow shirt and tan shorts. Score! He denied having driven up in a red car. Okay.
Down aisle two and imagine my surprise; another man with yellow shirt and tan shorts. What are the odds? Asked if he had driven up in a red car and he said no. Think his wife thought I was trying to pick him up. I couldn’t figure out why these men were not fessing up.
Back at the café I found Mom talking to some folks from the café, which overlooks the large store. I could not see the people, but her “Are you from Montana?” got her chatting with them. Turns out they were the folks, the air conditioning overflow was the culprit and it had driven them nuts when they first got the car too.
By this time, I am back eating lunch and quite puzzled. Then, who do I see, but a woman and a different man in a yellow shirt and tan shorts come into the café. The Montana folks with the peeing car. Verified by Mom, this was the third guy in the store in a yellow shirt and tan shorts. Who sent out the yellow shirt, tan shorts memo?
Did it happen in real life? Yes. Would most readers believe it? Maybe. By the third time there would need to be a twist in the story to hold the reader’s attention. Real life stories are not necessarily the right stories for fiction. Truth can be stranger than fiction, but fiction needs to be believable.
How’s that for a head scratcher!