5. DON’T RESEARCH TOO MUCH

Yes, I know this kind of runs counter to what I said about facts at the beginning. But you can become overly bogged down with facts in your fiction. Never forget you’re trying to write an exciting, entertaining story – which sometimes means giving a wink-and-a-nod to the facts and letting your imagination loose. Raymond Chandler used to talk about people complaining that his Philip Marlowe character wasn’t an accurate portrayal of what a private detective does. Chandler’s response was that, of course, real PIs don’t get hit over the head and shot at every day, but if he wrote about what they actually did – going over divorce papers at a desk, etc. – no would ever read his books.

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