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Fact Checking in Fiction

Started by LB, May 08, 2024, 09:57 AM

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LB

Who fact-checks your work?  When your literacy agent submits your manuscript to the publisher, does the editor run any fact-checks?   (I'm new at this)

dewsanddamps

Hi, LB! Ultimately you're responsible for any errors. If it's NF, the publisher may hire a fact checker, but I'm unaware of them doing that for fiction. Research can be a real rabbit hole, but it's also fun! :bunny
Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

Debbie Vilardi

In fiction, it is very much up to you because you can change facts on purpose.

In nonfiction, you want to be as accurate as possible. Many authors reach out to experts to have them fact check. Let's say you send the manuscript to an editor who knows your subject and you have some facts wrong. Suddenly, you are not the authority you claim to be. They have to be able to trust your words to publish them. This does not have to cost you anything but it may. It's also something that could be negotiated with a contract, especially if the subject is a sensitive one. Then the publisher will want things verified and may pay to have it done.
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

HaroldU

Practices vary, but I can tell you that for historical fiction, the publisher I work with does fact check, because it's history. We may hire a specialist or assign the fact check to a staff person. With other kinds of fiction, a good copyeditor is expected to do "light" factchecking--names and dates that can be quickly checked.They will also query facts they can NOT confirm.

Adult publishing, in general, is not as careful...
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: https://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HUnderdown/

dewsanddamps

Quote from: HaroldU on May 08, 2024, 06:52 PMAdult publishing, in general, is not as careful...

Oh, I think Harold has stories! :popcorn
Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

HaroldU

Quote from: dewsanddamps on May 08, 2024, 08:33 PMOh, I think Harold has stories! :popcorn
Don't we all? This is fairly well known. Adult publishing generally doesn't fact-check nonfiction, for multiple reasons, but I think the most significant is that by NOT fact-checking they won't be responsible for missing something. Example: The story that Noem met the leader of North Korea when she was in Congress, which she did not. That is a checkable and verifiable fact that a children's book fact-checker would have checked.

Instead, the publisher left this entirely up to the author. Which she knew, and I do not feel any sympathy for her.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: https://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HUnderdown/

dewsanddamps

Quote from: HaroldU on May 09, 2024, 12:46 PMExample: The story that Noem meet the leader of North Korea when she was in Congress, which she did not. That is a checkable and verifiable fact that a children's book fact-checker would have checked.

Instead, the publisher left this entirely up to the author. Which she knew, and I do not feel any sympathy for her.

My understanding is that she voiced the audiobook, too. It's harder to claim you didn't know what was in your own book when you've read it out loud.
Learning to Swear in America, 2016
What Goes Up, 2017
The Constitution Decoded, 2020
The Presidents Decoded, 2023
Hearts on Thin Ice, 2024

JFriday

Oh, Harold. You should write a book.  :lol4

I try to fact-check everything in my writing. I often do my own research.  I did that for my first three books, which are fairy tale/fantasy/historical fiction, and learned a lot about Arabia and France. That works if you're comfortable with spending hours and hours in research. If I feel I'm not on familiar ground, I have someone else look at it. For instance, my current WIP has a crime with police involvement. A copy of it is with an LEO right now who is reading through it to make sure every scene where the police are involved is reasonable.

THE FAIRY TALE SERIES:
My Sister, My Soul
The Plans of Morgiana
Forbidden Key

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