A few posts ago, I wrote on authors having a little fun with their books. Sure, every genre has its expectations as far as realism, details and plausibility. There will always be those “experts” that catch you on every “mistake” – whether you intended it or not. Most authors don’t mind getting corrections, but being an writer also means knowing when to deviate from the rules. For goodness sake, you’re writing about trolls or mutants or unstoppable heroes. Even when grounding it in some sort of plausibility, there’s still a bit of implausibility built in. Sure, if you’re writing The Hunt for Red October, your submarines cannot suddenly turn invisible or fly. Writing with that level of realism isn’t easy, though authors like Tom Clancy did it all the time. Even writers of techno thrillers and “hard sci-fi” don’t always follow the rules. A.E. van Vogt wrote many years ago (1952):
At the moment I regret none of the liberties I took with science in my science fiction. There was always a wealth of fact, enough, so it seemed to me, to carry the fantasy element. Even then, I rationalized what I did. I told myself whenever I had doubts: “The Story’s the thing.” I still believe that.
So, you see, being a writer is to know when to break the rules and, perhaps, make it seem like you aren’t breaking them. Or you write your story no matter what it takes, because ultimately it’s not realism even in the most realistic books that catch readers.