Friday, October 21, 2011


And now for some truth...

Last Friday, in anticipation of tomorrow’s Capital Crime Writers event at the Ottawa Public Library, I blogged about liars. So, being fair-minded, today I’m giving equal time to telling the truth. And its sidekick, accuracy.

We’ve all heard the story, perhaps some of you have even experienced, the frustrated or could be gleeful, reader who fires off an ‘aha’ email – “gotcha! you can’t make a right hand turn at that intersection”. Or some similar faux pas.

They’re out there waiting to catch you in an in-accuracy. Ok, that’s not really fair. Most times these readers are just eager to help the author. Maybe the correction can be made for the re-print, after all.

But they’re right. Accuracy is important. The author tries to build a relationship with the reader based on trust and that’s a sensitive commodity. If your character is turning the wrong way, possible headed for a brick wall, is the reader going to believe that just hours before, the report this pathologist gave to the police about the cause of death in a suspected homicide is the truth? How can this person who can’t see brick walls, see the entry wound on a body? And it’s even more crucial if you’ve done tons of research and have the pathologist toss around some medical facts. Could leave a big question mark in the reader’s mind.

But, you know all this, don’t you? It’s basic mystery writing 101.

My point – and I do have one – is that in this thing called fiction, there’s always some basis of truth. It may be as subtle as your own observations creeping in (possibly unbeknownst to you) or it can be all those facts you’ve included in that long detailed pathologist’s report. The fiction is the story we spin around the facts.

So, am I totally at odds with what I blogged last week? I have no idea. Like most fiction that I write, once it’s on the page, it’s gone out of my mind. That’s a scary fact I’m finding out now that I’m in the editing stage of A Killer Read. In fact, is that even my title?

And now for something completely different! Jacques Filippi, whose superb crime blog is found at and his cohorts have put together the QuebeCrime festival which is being held Oct. 28-30 in Quebec City. Visit the website for all the details. But stay tuned here because I’ve been given a pair of tickets to the festival – to give away at Mystery Maven Canada.

We’ll make this easy – the first email I receive after 1 p.m. EDT (have to give the West coasters a chance, too) at that names one of the many Canadian authors featured at this event, will win the tickets. So, check that website & get your fingers tapping.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April 3, 2012
From Berkley Prime Crime


  1. Another great post!! I agree that sometimes we get lost in what we are writing and sometimes the author doesn't remember that the reader can't see the "brick wall".

    I read a lot and I'm amazed at some of the faux paus I've come across when reading some of the "big authors" out there.

    Thanks for this; the reminder is good for all writers.


  2. Linda;

    Delighted to join your site. Until today, I didn't know it existed. You keep going, girl. After all. a country without crime is a country in denial.

    Best, Steve Douglass, Niagara Falls, Ontario.