Saturday, September 6, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?

"Do you see what's wrong here?" John asked, shoving the magazine down the table to me.

I put down my coffee cup and studied the picture -- a farmer working in the 'baccer. The mule looks like our Ol' Pete in his younger days. The sun's going down, the pretty white house has smoke rising from the kitchen chimney, and Mama's on the back porch, calling Pa in to supper.

Hmm. No kids around -- maybe they're in doing homework or back at the barn doing chores. Nice barns and out buildings. It's an idyllic scene -- change the hound to a collie and it could be an episode from "Lassie."

Then I spot it -- and wonder how many other readers of Progressive Farmer are groaning. Maybe some of you farmers or ex-farmers will see what's wrong. Right click on the picture to biggify it for a closer look. It's not something tiny; it's up front and is akin to a mystery writer saying a revolver had a silencer -- just doesn't happen. At least, this wasn't the way Our Mentor taught us.

The devil is in the details they say. I remember once painting a picture with mountains in the background and a barn in the foreground. I used two different photos to work from and it wasn't till I'd finished the picture that I realized why it just didn't look right -- the shadows on the mountains showed that the sun was to the right while the shadows in the foreground . . . yep, the sun was to the left. Just doesn't happen. (I'm not totally happy about the shadows in this picture either -- but that's not the error that caught my husband's eye.)

As a writer I really try to get my details correct. (Thus my recent research into teenage slang which caused some of your answers to be identified as naughty spam.) You never know what slip -- the revolver that fires ten times without reloading, the quilt being pieced, not quilted, on the quilting frame (this was in a best seller), the shotgun that later turns into a rifle, or the DNA report that's back in 24 hours -- is going to cause your reader to fall out of the story and fling the book against the wall, shrieking "Just doesn't happen!"

Oh my goodness -- I just found another thing wrong with this picture. This is something I pay attention to in my books -- not having things blooming in the wrong season. Anyone see what's bugging me here? You western NC or east TN folks might get this.

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Pat in east TN said...

I would say that if the corn is that high and in tassles then the 'baccer should be bigger then it is.

I'm going back to check the picture out more .....

Anonymous said...

Yup, I noticed the corn thing first... then the plow...

Vicki, I so appreciate your attention to detail in your books. I once read a novel set in this area that had daffodils and daylilies in bloom at the same time, and Loretta Lynn singing "Stand By Your Man" on the radio... just ruined it for me. (I seem to remember that reference to piecing a quilt on the frame as well.)

Vicki Lane said...

You farm girls did good! I didn't notice the corn, but you're absolutely correct. What bugged me was the blue hydrangeas that shouldn't be blooming when the tobacco was that small.

And the plow -- that's a turning plow, used to break the ground before planting. When 'baccer plants are set, one hoes around them and the mule would pull a cultivator down the
middle to tear up the weeds -- too much danger of breaking the precious leaves or covering them with dirt by using a turning plow.

Pat in east TN said...

Did you ever try and think of the name of something and it simply won't come? Yep, could not for the life of me think of a cultivator, yet I knew the turning plow was wrong. I guess you could say I had a 'brain ~art'! LOL

Tammy said...

I confess... I looked at the comments before I could figure it out... :-) I was mindlessly blogging around after sitting at the Celtic Festival for 10 hours, not expecting I would have to THINK! The flowers and corn didn't look quite right, but since you said it was really obvious, I knew that wasn't it... I tend to pick pictures apart too (well, books too...), but it keeps life interesting.

Vicki Lane said...

It's weird -- is it better just to not notice the mistakes and enjoy the book, painting, movie, whatever or is it better to be critical?

I guess we tend to focus on the things we really know -- the daffodils and daylilies blooming at the same time would be hard for me to ignore -- whereas probably any number of car/gun/almost anything technical mistakes could be there and I'd skim right past.