Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creative Liberties or “Can you get internet access and cell phone reception in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?”

As fiction writers, we sometimes have to be “creative” and ignore common sense, or reality, in order to make things work.  The best example of this comes when watching police dramas on television.  I’m always amazed how they can get DNA results and autopsies back in 60 seconds.

In Magic Moment, Chase Donovan heads to the boat he keeps docked in Magic Lake Island, New Jersey.  He stumbles upon two men assaulting Laura Roberts, the bookkeeper who works for his father. The men, assuming Chase is aware, refer to his father having sanctioned the use of the boat to kill Laura.  Although taken aback, Chase decides it's safer for Laura if he plays along with these men.  Insisting he’ll finish the job, Chase runs them off the boat. 

Chase frees Laura from her restraints.  After a heated tussle, he convinces her that his words were pretense.  When Laura refuses to go to the hospital or call the authorities, he tends to her bruises.  He is bewildered by what’s taking place around him.  He fears for their safety and persuades her they need to leave the area and should sail to his aunt’s house on the Chesapeake Bay.
While writing this story, I needed Laura to be suspicious of Chase and for an act to take place where she’s eventually convinced of his sincerity in wanting to help her.  I decided to have her find him reading articles on how to help a woman who has been assaulted and traumatized.  She finds him reading on the internet.  I also needed for Chase to be able to hear voice mail messages from his father on his cell phone.
When I wrote the first draft of this novel in late 2008 and early 2009, I posed these questions to others.  “If you’re in the middle of the Atlantic, can you get online?” And “how about using your cell phone?” Back then the answers I received ranged from “no” to “maybe” to “interesting question.”  I searched the internet myself and found, “yes, for a cruise ship, but very expensive.”

As I wrote the scenes, I decided if a cruise ship could have internet access and cell phone capabilities, so could Chase.
And, there goes my “Creative Liberty.”

Just in case you’re curious, here’s a sneak peak at the internet scene:

As she opened the cabin door, a pleasant, tangy sea breeze tickled her senses. Stiff limbs hindered her movements, but she climbed the stairs to the deck. The sun blazed in the clear blue sky. The boat teetered, alone, in a vast mass of water. A brisk chill nipped the air, and Laura hugged herself.

“Chase,” she called. No answer. She called his name again, this time her voice having an edge.

He wasn’t in the wheelhouse. She darted back down the stairs. If he had been moving around in the bathroom or “head” as he had called it, she would have heard him.

“Chase.” Panic gripped her. “Chase.”

Her heart pounding, she ran through the narrow corridor and stopped dead in the eating area. Propped up on the stool, he was asleep at the bar with a half-filled liquor bottle and an empty glass. His head rested on folded arms, his breathing deep. A laptop was also on the bar. The monitor was dark, but the yellow light blinked. Laura hit the space bar and print appeared on the screen. Several windows had been minimized.

Clicking on one minimized window, she skimmed the on-screen print and gasped, amazed at the words she read. She clicked another window and saw a search engine page. Chase had been reading articles on women who had been assaulted. Her eyes scanned the list of titles. He had wanted to understand, wanted to know how he could help her. From what she had observed of Chase in the last three years, she never guessed he had this sensitive, compassionate side to his personality. Her perception of Chase had been that of a friendly, but overindulged, self-absorbed playboy.

Who would have guessed?

Magic Moment is currently available for preorder on


  1. Love your cover, Angela! I laughed when I saw your 60 seconds to get DNA results. The first historical romance I wrote, that I've never published, was written over the course of a year, in real life and in the characters' lives. I wanted to show their whole life!!! Then a critique partner said I needed to move the story forward faster!

    That meant, falling in love quicker, getting on with life faster, and moving the story forward. Then again, do the fae really exist? Do werewolves? So sometimes we do just have to take reality a little for granted! :) LOL!

    Great post!

  2. Great post, Angela! I feel like I use my creative liberties all the time. Especially in my superhero books when they're 'fighting evil.' With all the mayhem going on you'd think the cops would show up a little more, but that would just ruin the moment. ;)

  3. Hi Angela! Great blog. I totally think you can stretch reality. And in my opinion, if the owner of the boat (which sounds pretty expensive) can afford that boat, he has enough money to buy whatever else he wants! Good luck with your release :)

  4. Hey Angela! Fiction is called fiction for a reason. If a writer has developed a good plot, brought me into the world and made me like the characters, I will always willingly suspend disbelief! :)Fiction just wouldn't be fiction without creative liberties.

    Congrats and best wishes on the upcoming release!! :)

  5. Hi, Terry, Mary, Heather and Misty!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Heather, you and I were thinking the same great thought. Since Chase has lots of money, he can afford whatever he wants -- like internet access on his boat.

    Thanks, Everyone, for your support and good wishes.

  6. I'd find this possible. It wouldn't be something to make me pause and think it couldn't happen.

  7. Hi, Marion,

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and passing your thoughts on to me!