Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Stranger than fiction buries the needle on the "verisimeter"

I apologize if it sounds like I'm moaning about real conspiracies overtaking the fictional ones I've created.  I'm not complaining so much as apologizing to you all for aiming so low with my poor, deadly, plausible conspiracies.  Maybe I should endeavor to be less plausible in future. On the verisimilitude meter current events superseding those in Faithless Elector are eye watering.

My imagined "Verisimeter" (c) looks a bit like the Politifact truth gauge, but with an editor's red pencil in place of the needle.  And instead of ranging from "mostly true" to "pants on fire" the gauge would swing from "Oh, come on!" to "Hmmm. Yeah, that works."

Apologies to Politifact
Case in point: an article in Bipartisan Report, citing the Huffington Post describes events that leave the poor (fictional) conspiracy of Faithless Elector, and the machinations of Dark Network behind in the dust:
"A 1994 federal court ruling in Pennsylvania may have set a precedent that could put Hillary Rodham Clinton in as leader of the free world, according to Huffington Post," says Gloria Christy.

My post from just two days ago (28-May) began with the Tom Clancy quote stating that the difference between fact and fiction was that "fiction has to make sense."

If I were to write HuffPost's above scenario in a future novel, I think my editor's head would explode, along with the heads of my readers if said scenario made it past the draft stage. Moreover, because it's so tenuous, ill-conceived and implausible readers would feel cheated.  It screams deus ex machina. Back in the real world, my questions are:  a) are there no editors at these publications? is there no one to say "that would/could never happen, spike it;" and b) regarding the current administration and its daily blundering intrigue, who's in charge?  Who thought any of what's been happening would play well?

I will be beginning a weekly Verisimeter (trademark pending) test of recent headline stories.  I will write the chain of events behind the headlines as they are known or suggested, and then run the whole thing through the Verisimeter, giving it a rating of "Oh, c'mon!" or "Yeah, that could work."

My interest will be purely academic--not whether what's happening is good, or just or wise, and frankly it's a bit late in the day for that, but whether it could withstand scrutiny in the fictional world.

 James McCrone is the author of Faithless Elector, a suspense-thriller, Publishers Weekly calls a “fast-moving topical thriller.”  Its “surprising twists add up to a highly suspenseful read.” The sequel, Dark Network, is coming soon. Consent of the Governed will be available next year.

Faithless Elector, by James McCrone is available through Amazon.
If you live in Philadelphia, pick up a copy at Head House Books -or- Penn Book Center

No comments:

Post a Comment