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Old July 13, 2018, 06:11 PM   #1
DaleA
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Do authors intentionally insert mistakes?

The my tinfoil hat slipped off and a conspiracy theory just hit me.

Maybe these action/adventure novels put these clunkers in their books on purpose just to wind us up and get publicity?

I have no trouble mentioning this book and giving it more publicity because Amazon made it a free book for Amazon Prime members with a Kindle.

The book is "Takeoff" by Joseph Reid.

Let me say the book's plot line is "preposterously absurd" (I borrowed that from an Amazon review because it exactly expressed my feelings.)

The author is being compared to Lee Child and John Sandford. Lee Child, I'll give you that because the plot is ALMOST as ridiculous as Child's clunker 61 Hours. (And I don't like Lee Child because he lies about gun control.) But I have read John Sandford's books and this guy (Joseph Reid) is no John Sandford.

After putting in several strained and pained gun references to establish his creds the author exposes himself for the poser he is and dumps this on us:

Quote:
From behind her back, she drew a pistol. A Glock, exactly like Shen’s. She pointed it directly at my face.
“Your last chance, Senor Walker,” Peten said, cocking the hammer
.
Or, or, maybe like I said this is all part of a plot! (Where IS my hat? It's so shiny it shouldn't get lost...)
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Old July 13, 2018, 07:26 PM   #2
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Take off your tinfoil hat and leave it off. Also, go ahead and leave your panic room. Leave your security blanket in the panic room as well. There is no conspiracy.

Many authors are just plain ignorant. I can't begin to tell you how many stories I have read where the authors referred to people snicking off the safety on their Glocks.

Lee Child has made several mistakes in his books as well.

Authors write about a lot of things. When you write a good story, you are going to cover a myriad of topics. You aren't going to be an expert in all of them or even necessarily familiar enough with all of them to get all their basic details correct.

It is sort of like when people point out gun mistakes in movies, such as guns present that weren't actually available at the time. I used to have a buddy who was a tire specialist and who did re-enactments. He was always looking at the tires on Jeeps in WWII and Korean War movies to see if the right tires were being used. Don't freak out or think there is some sort of tire conspiracy, but the tires being used are not always authentic or even authentic replicas.

I watched the first episode of Hollywood Weapons where the main guy, Terry Schappert is a former special forces dude, medic, sniper, combat specialist and in the first episode he talked about the hammer on a Glock striking the firing pin. Even the "experts" mess up. If you have Netflix, check out the first episode when he talks about "knucklehead science" and has a Glock that he is describing.
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Old July 13, 2018, 09:30 PM   #3
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When you write a good story, you are going to cover a myriad of topics. You aren't going to be an expert in all of them or even necessarily familiar enough with all of them to get all their basic details correct.
Maybe they aren't, but they should be expert enough to get real world details correct, even when writing fiction. It's called RESEARCH...sadly many authors just go with a good sounding phrase that is somehow related to the subject.

When you have real world things, and locations in your story, its just basic research to get easily verifiable details correct.

I can forgive, to a point, movies (and especially war movies) before CGI using what was available. With movies not only is there a budget, there is also a schedule. Not so the writer, or at least not in the same ways.

Sometimes it seems writers just have a bunch of gun terms and names in a hat and pick one or two out to use when the story involves a gun. Even famous writers have been essentially ignorant of the correct use of terms and names. Ian Fleming's 007 comes to mind. But then, he was English...

If you're writing something that happens in the Empire State Bldg, it doesn't happen on the 115th floor. If you are driving a certain car, and you describe the shift pattern, it better be right. A 7.62NATO doesn't shoot "5.56 tumblers" (yes, I actually read that once in an action novel).

If read several excellent books where a pair of writers worked together, one doing the story and the other doing the "sets and props" to get things both correct, and consistant.

Call it research, or call it fact checking, its done all to seldom and all too poorly all too often these days. Especially by people who consider themselves journalists...or so it seems to me.

So,the next time the hero jumps in his 68 Corvette and fires up that 351 Cleveland V8, remember its not just guns that writers are idiots about.
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Old July 13, 2018, 09:50 PM   #4
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Ever read Christine? Now a red special ordered Fury is a stretch but whatever, kinda goes with the story. But the book, it’s a 4 door. Color is something believable but not a trim package on a car that wasn’t available.

What about the guns in movies that never reload? Or the cars that only upshift? Anymore I ignore the mistakes, I’ll never enjoy it if I don’t.
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Old July 13, 2018, 09:59 PM   #5
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How about a .460 Weatherby with a 20x scope shooting the golf ball off the tee from a boat 500yds out on Lake Michigan, "riding the recoil to never lose sight of the target in the scope"?

On the other hand, I've seen the USS MISSOURI do a "bootlegger turn" on my tv, so I suppose anything is possible..
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Old July 13, 2018, 10:12 PM   #6
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It’s as easy as as this, did the author write it for dollars or passion? If it was dollars then it’s written for the hundreds of millions which would find nothing amiss...... on the other hand, there are we forum members that would instead find a miss.;-)


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Old July 13, 2018, 10:30 PM   #7
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And the reason you believe any author would be knowledgable, accurate and truthful would be...?
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Old July 13, 2018, 10:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Maybe they aren't, but they should be expert enough to get real world details correct, even when writing fiction.
Everything is a detail in the real world. As I pointed out, it is tough to know everything about the real world.

You know, we can't even get gun people to get all the details correct, so expecting non-gun people to get all the gun details correct is pretty much unrealistic.

It is annoying, but that is reality.

Nobody fact checks everything. Even in books like the one where you described that you didn't notice anything wrong, there were likely things that were wrong, but because you didn't know enough about them, you missed them.
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Old July 14, 2018, 01:13 AM   #9
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Why bother assigning to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

Not the only case of "cocked hammers" on Glocks I've run into.
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Old July 14, 2018, 01:48 AM   #10
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I've had some constructive exchanges with authors who are clearly interested in getting firearm details correct. I've had some who obviously aren't interested in the details ignore my attempts to help them out.

I doubt that many of them are intentionally getting things wrong, but it's pretty clear that some just don't care.
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Old July 14, 2018, 09:11 AM   #11
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I haven't read a lot of stories with guns in them but the movie errors are so persistent and so consistently wrong, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. The worst, of course, being the semi-automatic handgun with the slide locked back that keeps clicking while the trigger is pulled. They get it wrong in every dang movie.

And a thousand others...........

--Wag--
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Old July 14, 2018, 09:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
I doubt that many of them are intentionally getting things wrong, but it's pretty clear that some just don't care.
Some don't care, but I also get the impression that some are more interested in the overall story than some of the minutia. They are trying to set a tone as opposed to writing a technical treatise.
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Old July 14, 2018, 09:45 AM   #13
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No author wants mistakes in their book. It's generally ignorance, oversight or just a simple mistake. Sometimes it could be the editor who makes changes.

Darn if I didn't make quite a few myself in my two books. At least I sent some corrections and updates to the publisher for the second book. For instant, I mentioned the Belton repeater flintlock of the Revolution and said there were none known to exist. Then I found out that the Royal Armoury in Leeds has two that were made for the British East India Company. Oppski.
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Old July 14, 2018, 11:02 AM   #14
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I've always believed they call it "fiction" for a reason. I enjoy reading Sci-Fi and Steampunk because their weapons and plot-lines are known to be fictitious and absurd. While so many writers do try and stay as factual as they can, does it really matter to the person reading a free novel on their Kindle? If it did, there would be no mistakes or absurd plots.
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Old July 14, 2018, 12:41 PM   #15
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When people don't do their research ....one of the all time favorite Sherlock Holmes stories is Silver Blaze about a missing race horse. But as readers pointed out at the time-and as Conan Doyle admitted-his description of English horse racing was waayy off.
Here's one I have seen on Bank of America ATMs recently. They have a salute to military families, it shows a Navy CPO in his blue uniform with his wife and children.
1. No insignia on his white saucer cap.
2. No rating/rank insignia on his left sleeve.
3. No campaign ribbons.
4. No hash marks.
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Old July 14, 2018, 01:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Here's one I have seen on Bank of America ATMs recently. They have a salute to military families, it shows a Navy CPO in his blue uniform with his wife and children.
1. No insignia on his white saucer cap.
2. No rating/rank insignia on his left sleeve.
3. No campaign ribbons.
4. No hash marks.
To me, that says its a basic uniform from stores/prop dept and the people are most likely models posed for the picture. Not an actual CPO in his uniform with his actual family.

Of course I could be wrong, but I think its likely a created shot for the ad campaign, not an actual family photo.
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Old July 14, 2018, 02:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
Nobody fact checks everything. Even in books like the one where you described that you didn't notice anything wrong, there were likely things that were wrong, but because you didn't know enough about them, you missed them.
That's the long and short of it, right there.

Imagine a book which contained detailed firearms, nautical, automotive scenes, plus some gratuitous physics equations and a description of a genetically engineered virus...

"We", the gun nuts would recognize and deride all the firearms errors and exaggerations and most of us would not even notice the missing or incorrect symbol in the Quantum Mechanics equation or sail boat details. Meanwhile, the Astrophysicist notices the equation but not the incorrect length reference of the sail boat, while the geneticist misses both of those, besides the automotive errors... and just can't wait to get on their favorite forum to talk about the "obvious" flaws in the description of the disease....
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Old July 14, 2018, 02:28 PM   #18
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Based on the title, "Last of the Mohicans" by
James Fennimore Cooper, how come the
Mohicans are still around and I believe run
a casino or two?

And did two boy kings actually exist
in "The Man in the Iron Mask?"

And did not Hitler perish in a small
movie theater in Paris well before
the end of WWII?
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Old July 14, 2018, 06:45 PM   #19
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If you are writing a complete work of fiction, you can do anything you want and "get away with it", especially if you cover it as set in an alternate history, dimension, etc.

If you're doing fictional characters and story in a real world setting, I think you ought to do whatever research is needed to get things right. Things like getting famous location descriptions correct (landmarks, street names, etc.).

The better you are at correctly describing the details of things that I do know about, the more I am inclined to accept the descriptions of things I don't know about as factual.

Like the credibility of a witness in court, if we catch you in a lie (or just a mistake) about one thing, your testimony about everything is suspect.

There are "levels" of accuracy, and are easiest to see in movies. You have actual historical events as accurately portrayed as practical/possible (such as Tora! Tora! Tora!)

Then you have movies that are "based on historical events" where some of the important historical things are accurate and there are other fictional characters and events add to that. And then there are movies "inspired by real events" where they can range from slight deviations of history to complete fabrications using only the names of historical figures and events.
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Old July 14, 2018, 06:47 PM   #20
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Lee Child has made several mistakes in his books as well.

He makes *a lot* of mistakes. What do you expect of a Brit who writes about the American military and guns, when he has no experience w/ either one? I shook my head when in the first Reacher book, the main character went to an Army-Navy store to buy a killing knife. But instead of buying a K-Bar, he buys a cheap switchblade. Fail.
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Old July 14, 2018, 07:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4V50 Gary View Post
No author wants mistakes in their book. ...
Actually Tom Clancy gave an interview after he wrote The Sum of All Fears about intentionally inserting bad info. He indicated he intentionally put in bad nuclear weapon design information to try avoid helping a terrorist group.

What he didn't know was that Al Gore, in his infinite wisdom to show openness of the government put very specific nuclear weapon design information on the internet.
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Old July 15, 2018, 07:08 PM   #22
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Just noticed this in a movie the other day. Was rewatching "Ant Man" with the wife in prep for the new one coming out soon.

Remember the scene when the villain (bad business guy) tries to shoot the main female character but the ants all crawl up and block the hammer of the pistol? Well, that pistol... was a Glock.

The irony is... other evil henchmen were using Beretta 92s, which obviously have hammers. If they wanted ants to block a hammer (which was kinda a neat idea I guess) then give the baddie one of the Berettas... easy fix.
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Old July 15, 2018, 09:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Actually Tom Clancy gave an interview after he wrote The Sum of All Fears about intentionally inserting bad info. He indicated he intentionally put in bad nuclear weapon design information to try avoid helping a terrorist group.
If you intentionally do it, then it isn't a mistake, though it may be incorrect. Part of what makes fiction be fiction is when things that cannot work are supposed to be able to work.
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Old July 15, 2018, 10:05 PM   #24
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I think we can all agree that the title of the thread is flawed and that mistakes are unintentional by the one making the mistake and therefore can't be deliberately inserted which is ironic for the thread. I think the OP meant errors.
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Old July 16, 2018, 01:55 AM   #25
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Um...I think it's MTT TL for the win. At least language wise. I think he is correct and the word 'error' would have been better than 'mistake'.

Quote:
Why bother assigning to malice what can be explained by incompetence.
I like the above quote a lot and I think it probably covers a good 98% of the cases I'm talking about but I still kind of wonder if they don't occasionally toss one in just to see whose paying attention and maybe get folk talking. Kind of like the old 'There's no such thing as bad publicity' associated with Phineas T. Barnum.
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