Posted on 02/02/2022 at 10:59 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Authors of historical fiction have been encouraged, at least recently in the blogs we follow, to focus more on authenticity than accuracy.

That is, the descriptions and details they include must pull the reader into the world, rather than having them sit in a chair and hear a recitation of facts about life in whatever era and place.

But the same principle is true of fiction set in contemporary times, too.

Editor and author Joe Ponepinto has seen his fair share of manuscripts that rely too much on generic but accurate details — for example, having an American character note that partygoers were selecting beverages out of a blue cooler.

What he wants them to do instead is to select details that give them a sense of the character, like that this American character has shyly tucked herself in a corner where she can observe the very same people whom she must converse with to further her career.

Ponepinto's discussion of how to use telling details to connect description and character is at Jane Friedman's blog.

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