Fact Checking in the Real World, part 1

I just got my galleys (page proofs) back for Just One Wish, which has made me think about all the facts authors have to check when we write novels.

For example, in this story the main character, Annika, tells her six-year-old brother that she has a genie and that he can have two wishes. He is a little skeptical at first, but ends up buying the story.

I wondered if a six-year-old would really believe the whole genie story. Luckily, I happen to have a six-year-old (my children often come in handy when I’m writing) so I sat her down and asked her, “What would you say if your sister told you that she had a genie and that you could have two wishes?”

My six-year-old thought about it for a second and then said, “Thank you?”

Yep, that part of the story works.

Second fact: There is a part in this story where Annika is going through a guy’s room looking for clothes to wear. (That sounds wrong, doesn’t it? It’s not what you think.) The guy is six foot two, however, so I wrote it that his shorts slip off Annika’s hips.

In real life my 14-year-old son is a half inch shy of six feet. He’s a gymnast and pretty much solid muscle. He weighs, I think, twenty pounds more than I do. But as it turns out my son and I both have some Old Navy jeans that look about the same–except, get this, his pants are smaller than mine. I’m not sure why this is since he is both taller and heavier than me.

It is just unfair though.

Not long ago, we were doing laundry and I told him, “I think you’ve got my jeans and I’ve got yours.”

“No you don’t,” he said.

I pulled a candy wrapper out of my pockets for proof. Then he pulled a pair of bobby pins out of his pocket, and we switched pants. (And yes, at my house we believe in washing and drying the contents of our pockets with every load of laundry.)

So yeah, assuming Annika was tall (and I never say whether she was or not) she may have fit into the guy’s shorts without any problem at all.

Oh well, I’m not changing it at this point.

Here is a picture of my son and his friend showing off their abs. He is the patriotic one. (Perhaps I should start regularly putting pictures of him on my blog to increase the amount of teenage girls coming to my site . . .)
The next fact checking story involves the real life Orlando Bloom and my high school chum, Misty. Stay tuned.


  1. Candace E. Salima
    June 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I got nothin’ but “huh.”

  2. Asenath
    June 1, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I can fit into my brothers clothes no problem…some of his shirts are even too big. I’ve never been in a situation where I had to wear clothes from a guy my own age though…so I can’t really help there.

    And he is way to ripped. I’ve never had a body that good, it’s not fair.

  3. Lillian Syville
    June 1, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    That’s really funny. Did your editor question the acuracy of the cost for shipping a pot of gold?
    Can’t Wait for more of you Fact Checking Blogs

  4. Janette Rallison
    June 1, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Actually, no, the mailing a pot of gold part of the story has thus far not been challanged. . . but it still may be . . .

  5. tenacious d
    June 2, 2008 at 7:38 am

    Uh, Luke has grown quite a bit since I last saw him.

  6. Janette Rallison
    June 2, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    So true. Every time I turn around he’s grown taller.

  7. Anna Maria Junus
    June 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t think there’s going to be a problem with leaving the clothes falling off her.

    Doesn’t that sound racy?

  8. Celise
    June 2, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    A gymnast! How cool. That’s one of my favorite sports. I did it when I was younger then stopped when I was about 9 (drunk driver, coma for two months, not very pretty). If I still had abs tight enuff to bounce a quarter off of, I’d be showin’ them too. Just not topless, like your son. LOL.

  9. Julie Wright
    June 2, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I believe in genies. Do you have to be six to believe in genies? Sadly I don’t have one. Mine escaped from the lovely lamp I bought for him. He turned up his nose and mumbled something about an allergy to pewter. Then poof! He abandoned me in that same moment. This explains a lot: the dirty house, the weed lawn in the front yard, the unfinished manuscripts on my desktop . . .

  10. Janette Rallison
    June 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Wow, Celise, that could be a novel, couldn’t it?

  11. Janette Rallison
    June 3, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I need a genie, but I would settle for three extra hours in the day and no calorie chocolate.

  12. Lillian Syville
    June 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    no calorie chocolate would be good

  13. Kari Pike
    June 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Oh yeah…sign me up for the no-calorie chocolate. Of course, if I had a genie, he could blink all chocolate no-calorie as well as blink all the laundry and dishes done!!

  14. Kari Pike
    June 6, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Okay Janette, I just have to comment again. I just shared your blog with my 15 year-old daughter. She said, “She’s right. She would have more teenage girls look at her site. Look, he even has wavy hair!” Then she told me not to get any ideas about setting her up (she’s almost 16)because he’s too young for her…lol…although she did comment on how he looks more like 17 than 14.

  15. Gabrielle
    June 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    It is unfair. Men in general can be heavier and look fine, where as five pounds of extra ice cream about the stomach says, “No go, fatso,” to us.


  16. Pickles like pizza on Christmas
    June 9, 2008 at 10:54 am

    My brother is tall and about the size of your sons friend so fitting in his clothers is out of the question. *whistle* You know you should base more of the guys in your book of him…
    How come I can never meet guys like that? I’m stuck with, well lets just say none of them have abs, thats for sure!

  17. Smithy Smith
    June 9, 2008 at 11:06 am

    That is crazy, if I showed my brother, he would be crazy with jealosy. What I want to know is what is his friends name? He’s more my size anyway…I’m only 5’3″, which is actually taller than most people in my grade. My number is…

  18. Pickles like pizza on Christmas
    June 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Seriously, you’d have to stand on a chair to hug him. Wat does you son think of all these girls’ looking at his picture? (I’m not a guy but I would be disgusted.) 🙂

  19. Anonymous
    June 21, 2008 at 11:41 am

    holy crap that guy is buff, is there any chance that you could get a better picture of him though his arms are so big that they cover part of his stomach. And isn’t tall better cause i don’t want a short guy.

  20. Anonymous
    July 24, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    ha, yeah well especially if Luke tell’s his friends to check out his mom’s blog… like me for example, innocent 15 year old girl, suddenly more aware of the buffness that is LUKE…

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