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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Importance of Trivia

How far away is the horizon? In my current WIP, the hero knows the answer. Since I'm writing his dialogue, I needed the answer. I found it online, which is where I find a great many odd bits of trivia nowadays. Nevertheless, not everything online is the truth. I always check several references before I believe the answer is correct.

If my hero is six feet tall--and the weather is clear--he should be able to see almost three miles to the horizon. If he's in a tower, he can see further than that, which is a good thing for the story. :-)

I have a passion for minutiae. Once, before our family had the internet, we appreciated playing the game of Trivial Pursuit. With quite a number of people at our house one evening, we gathered into teams to play. My team won because I picked the best team: my father, who had a career in journalism, my mother who was an artist but also read gossip tabloids, and me--the collector of an assortment of unrelated facts.

I think research is fun though I know it's dangerous to go on a fact-finding mission when writing a rough draft. I could delve into my inquiry and never come up for air. I've found it better to have a general idea of what facts I need before I start writing in addition to keeping several references at hand that can be quickly checked if needed.

For me as a writer, trivia is important because the story is in the details.


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Sharon McGregor said...

Trivia is so absorbing. I love Trivial Pursuit but can't coerce my family into playing with me.

Penelope Marzec said...


Not everyone is addicted to an assortment of facts. :-(