The reason I write fiction is so I can make things up.
Suddenly, especially with TV getting so much wrong apparently (I don't watch a lot, so I only know what I read about watching TV), everything in fiction has to be real.
The only people who can write fiction anymore without fear of criticism about what they've made up, it seems, are those who write "Speculative Fiction." The rest of us can make up people, places, maybe some situations, but not things, unless one of our characters is an inventor, and certainly not a lot else. Everything else has to be true and factual or the reader is "pulled out of the story," and then "throws the book against the wall." Something I think is rather violent for a gentle reader.
This leaves us writers scrambling for the facts. And defending ourselves when we get it wrong. And wanting to throw the gentle reader across the room when the reader was wrong and told the whole world we were wrong.
What's wrong with this picture?
We writers are often to blame for this state of affairs. We're a picky bunch ourselves, especially if we are professional people who write about our professions. We insist that WE never do things that way, the way the author has written it. Without regard for being in a different place, in a different time, or in a different mindset.
I don't mean we should put Nashville in New York State, or spell the names of real people wrong. But the people who go ballistic when someone gets a fact about a gun wrong is astonishing--scary that some of those people carry. And the people who are with police departments and insist it's done a different way because that's the way they do it is legion. And the people who are "experts" at dialects and how people say things in different regions of the country certainly can bury us in words about the matter, often themselves totally wrong. And that's just a few examples. Everyone is an expect at something, and many seem to expect the author to become one too. When would we have time to write?
If a novel is loaded with errors, I would have to put it down myself. But if you come across one error, and then maybe one or two more, remember one thing:
It's fiction. Would you rather the author spend hours looking up one tiny fact or just write the thing and get it published? And then write another one, supposing that the story is really good and the writer a really good writer. As long as it's believable, it's okay with me. And it can either be believable because it's true, or it can be believable because the writer is so good at writing FICTION that I don't care if it's true or not.
Let the arguments begin!