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Knowledge is Power….

July 2, 2012

But…absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Ugh. There is evidently a fine line between knowing enough and knowing too much or thinking you know it all.

When I write I go in one of two ways. I either create the entire world out of my own imagination where I make the rules, the places, the people, etc. What happens in my world stays in my world. Then there is the story where I want to make it a bit more real. Those stories may be set in a real place, or include historical people (ie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). These stories tend to take a bit more time up front. I dive into the books, read what I can to better understand the concept.

One of my favorite authors is Micheal Crichton. He did so many great things, such as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, and Prey. Each of these novels have a very distinct technical side to them. If he were to write these and get nothing right about viral strains, dinosaur DNA, or nano particles the stories themselves would have fallen apart. That knowledge came from somewhere and I’m sure Micheal spent many a day reading technical journals to find out exactly how things worked before he crafted his story around those facts.

However, I feel there is a fine line between having just enough fact in the story to give it bite and so much fact that it collapses in on itself. I have run into this on one of my own stories. Right now the story is so full of “fact” that I am going to end up scrapping most of what I have written thus far and start over. It’s a story about woman who travels in order to find herself. I personally have not traveled abroad, so I read to learn more about the places I want her to go. Egypt, Rome, Paris, etc. What I found, though, is I ended up trying to put so much detail in the book about where she is that I lost the vibe of what the story was supposed to be. The characters got lost, the plot exploded, and everything fell apart. All I had was a bunch of pages that tried to describe what the little shop on X street looked like.

Blah.

I guess what I’m getting at is it’s just as important to understand why you need the knowledge and how it is to be used as it is to seek the knowledge in the first place. Too much of a good thing does not always a great thing make.

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