Recently, I read a general-market novel that, for the most part, held together. Except I wish the novel ended sooner because I started to get bored.
That aside, the author seemed to know the topics discussed but, for whatever reason, completely missed the mark when describing a popular hotel chain. The story said the logo is red. It is outlined in red, but the logo can hardly be described as red.
The story needed a hotel that has room service. Unfortunately, the author chose a hotel chain that does not have room service. A Google search reveals this fact. I did see one exception where the adjacent hotel provided room service, but that might be the only location in the country where this applies. If so, the novel should have said so.
This inaccuracy (and the logo miss) jumped out at me because I’m quite familiar with the chain. I’ve stayed at many of its locations all over the country. The rooms are clean and spacious enough, and the free breakfast isn’t worth the price. My family stays there for reliability at a reasonable cost. But none of us brags about staying there. It’s hardly a destination hotel.
And yet, the chain deserves more respect than an inaccurate description. Perhaps the novelist made the chain contort to the plot. I could have bought into this if I hadn’t been so very, very familiar with the chain. I found such broad inaccuracies off-putting. I was willing to go along with the story well enough, but my faith in the author waned at this point. As a novelist, I would have made up a private hotel and described it as a modest family place or simply left the chain unnamed and let the reader fill in the blanks. But name a chain and get not one but two huge details dead wrong? Not if I could help it.
As Steve Laube likes to say, “Google is a marvelous thing.”
Have you lost faith in an author for missing a detail?
Do you mind if an author forces something to fit into a plot?
What is your favorite way to research?