Getting Computer Scenes Right: Where Hollywood's Steered You Wrong

One of the first things I did when moving from writing historical romance to romantic suspense was to tackle a plot that was dependent upon a high-tech twist. Naturally, I was tempted to rely on some of the uber-cool stuff I'd picked up from TV and the movies. Fortunately, I had learned from writing historicals that primary research (i.e.-getting information straight from the horse's mouth) is the only way to go if you are really concerned with accuracy. After conferring with an Intel engineer and having a forensic computer investigator review the relevant scenes pre-publication, Fatal Error was ready to roll.

From that experience, however, I quickly learned that Hollywood "uber-cool" is very often "uber-fudged." Need some specific examples? Check out this brief vid from Kim Komando ("The Digital Goddess.") And check out her radio show for some excellent real-world tips.

Comments

Suzan Harden said…
OMG, don't EVEN get me started about Jurassic Park!
Barbara Sissel said…
One of the things I most admire when reading a novel that plays off a device, whether it's a historical event or some high-tech invention, is when that device is so smoothly written into the plot, I scarcely notice it. When it's so well done, I don't question the credulity of the action. That's the case with Fatal Error. In fact, it's the hallmark of all Colleen's novels. The research never shows! Oh, yeah, Kim Komando is cool too!
LOL, Suzan. I guess if you're going to fudge your facts, the key to success is to do so in a VERY entertaining style. With lots of walking, man-eating eye candy!

And thank you for the kind words, Barbara. I really believe that starting as an author of historical romance (and, ok, as a teacher of English and history whose students benefited from the storyteller's art) has proven very helpful to me in the long run.
Rachael said…
I think NCIS is guilty of propagating every single one of these computer-related myths. The only thing they seem to get right is that unplugging or shooting the computer will stop whatever it's doing.

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