Monday, August 2, 2010


I need to learn how to turn off my brain. It’s interfering with my ability to enjoy life.

This is not a new problem, but it’s one that’s been bothering me more and more.

I am a detail-oriented person. I’m also overeducated. This is a recipe for disaster if you wish to enjoy television, books, movies, or occasionally conversation. Or, sometimes, allow those around you to enjoy those things. Its why I was originally drawn to criminal investigations and the sciences. There, a brain that picks out inconsistencies is a gift. For regular life, it makes you twitchy.

Take for example, TV. Our son is in the process of graduating from shows on Sprout and Nick Jr. to the fine art of Harryhausen films, classic SciFi television, and cheesy/campy movies of the action/adventure genre. To him it’s all great action, monsters, and adventure. However, to me, some of them are like fingernails on a blackboard. Take for example one movie he watched this weekend where vampires were in the Crescent City and the hero kills one with an aspen branch that was conveniently growing in a bayou. That irked me to no end, because the conditions required to grow an aspen don’t exist there and so you won’t find any aspens there.

*twitch, twitch*

Or, take a murder mystery party I went to where an acting troupe led the event. 15 minutes in I said I’d solved the mystery of the prohibition-era gangster vs. g-man story. The government organizations rules of the day in question, the nature of alcohol, and a basic understanding of firearms led to only one conclusion and I said so. Apparently I was dead wrong. I also ruined it for everyone, not the least of which being the people who hired the troupe who’d emphasized their research and authenticity on their advertising materials.

I have no problem with flights of fancy. I really don’t. I’m a lover of science fiction and other forms of fantasy.

What starts my twitch can only be chalked up as laziness. Don’t tell me that a Sig Sauer P226 fires 38 rounds. If it’s an existing item with existing constraints than you should either check it out and state it fires 16, or else say your character modified it somehow if the facts don’t fit your plot arc. It’s okay to gloss over the details on how. I’m okay if you make up facts where none exist (like the whole warp drive physics thing). Just don’t make me twitchy with the wrongness.

If you have a character driving from D.C. to Seattle, see how long it might take. If you have military officers, put them in the right uniforms. If you have some aspect of chemistry, botany, or other scientific discipline as central to your story, check the library to make sure you have your facts straight.


Or else twitchiness will become a National epidemic.

1 comment:

caramama said...

Can I just say a big DITTO!!!

Do you ever read the Bad Astronomy blog? It's for people like us.