Truthfulness in the details of a story

by Cherry

Greetings Glen, I seem to pass here asking lot of questions but thats because I want this novel of mine to have much ' Credibility ' in it, so it doesn't seem shallow to the reader. The events of the story are located in Florence, and I asked myself is it okay to actually mention real names of neighborhoods in Florence and throw it in the corners of words of some details? Like for instance, yesterday I wrote a paragraph describing a boy's emotions from what he sees all around him in a poor alley, and as he walks he sees that the scenes around him are getting more darker and even naughtier to his innocent sight; I was hesitated at that moment, I looked up before on the history of Florence and see its a city with a proud culture and amazing art, and even searched if there were any bad rumors about some neighborhoods, because if there is, I'd mention the name of it. It'll be weird to repeat every time ' in Florence ' and sometimes also i have to mention real details about events and parties that be done there. Whether it was the locations, the events, or political matters, I don't want someone in the future to tell me ' No but Florence isn't like that ' or ' How do you know if its economy was bad or not to have a revolution done in the story?

Should I go far with my imagination in this because it's a story, or there
is a limit?

Answer: You are definitely doing the right thing by researching Florence so you can write about it authentically.

Ideally, you want to be able to describe the city so well that someone who lives there can read your book and be convinced you do too.

Second best is if someone in Florence can read your book and tell that you did your research, that the story is believable.

You want to avoid the kind of errors that someone in Florence would spot right away.

Real place names certainly add to that feeling of familiarity, even if you give your characters fictitious addresses within real neighbourhoods.

Ideally, one would want to visit Florence and take lots of photographs and notes. Many writers take extensive notes when they travel just in case they want to use a place later in a book.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other resources you can consult today. Google maps, for example can give you maps and photographs of any street in any city.

What's harder to find out are things like the sounds and smells of different parts of the city, the culture of certain neighbourhoods or social groups, the details of people's lifetyles.

Reading travel articles can help, but they often discuss the more attractive features of a place. You want to know about the unattractive features as well, and the boring stuff of everyday life. (For instance, what do people in Florence complain about?)

Talking to people who have lived there can also be beneficial, if possible.

Best of luck.

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