Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Guest Post: Real Fiction by author Ted Galdi

I've decided that a few guest posts might help fill in the holes my lack of reviews have caused. This post is by new author Ted Galdi about the benefits of 'real' fiction and his new book. Enjoy!

When reading books or watching movies, I've always found it interesting when the fictional story takes creative liberties with well-known, real-life "things." For instance, in The Da Vinci Code, though the characters and conflict are completely fictional, a lot of the important drivers of the story - institutions, works of art, symbols, etc - have existed in the world for hundreds of years if not more. Though some made-up context is added around these aspects, it happens in a way that preserves their historical integrity and doesn't try to transform them into something they're not. When writers use this technique with the appropriate balance, the result is powerful. Audiences are able to instantly relate to the story because it features things they already know about; less exposition is needed since the simple introduction of these elements conveys unspoken supporting information; the journeys of the characters seem more realistic since they're happening among recognizable scenery.

I recently finished writing my first novel, Elixir, a thriller about a teenage genius on a mission to create a "super medicine" to save his sick girlfriend. When writing I relied heavily on the concept of "real fiction," trying to incorporate commonly known things into the book on the small level all the way up to the large. For example, a major conflict point of the story involves Sean, the main character, cracking something called The Traveling Salesman Problem, which is considered the biggest mystery in computer science. The challenge is to write a formula that can automatically find the shortest route a traveller (like a salesman on a business trip) can take through any number of world cities, while passing through each at least once before returning to the original. It sounds simple enough, and it is for a low number of destinations. However, once you include ten cities the amount of possible "paths" to choose from is over 350,000. The scope gets exponentially more complex as more locations are piled on, skyrocketing to over 85 billion potential paths at 15 cities. In Elixir, Sean invents a formula that can in deed locate the shortest route among all 85-billion-plus of these combinations and many more. This discovery winds up catapulting him into a storm of problems, where he's chased down by "real fiction" pursuers such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the United States Secretary of Defence.

Weaving real-fiction pieces into a story can make it more relatable and appealing. If you're an aspiring writer, definitely consider this effective tool in your next project.


This guest post was by Ted Galdi, author of the upcoming thriller Elixir. For more on Ted and his book, visit the official website at


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