I’m pleased to share that my short story, “The Night the Billado Block Burned Down,” has been published in the July 29th edition of Metaworker Literary Magazine. The impetus for the story was a 2005 fire in my hometown of Enosburg Falls, Vermont that destroyed one of the downtown blocks. I’ve written about two of the downtown blocks previously, the Perley Block in my debut novel, Telling Sonny, and the Ben Franklin Block in the short story, “Living in the Ben Franklin Block.”
As I was looking for the photographs to illustrate this post, I immediately saw that I had the wrong block in the story. It was the Depatie Block that had burned down, not the Billado Block! How could I have made such a mistake? In the aftermath of the fire, my husband and I had actually been to the site and taken pictures. I knew which block it was.
The only reason I can think of for the discrepancy is that I changed the site of the fire from the Depatie Block to the Billado Block so that I could have alliteration in the title of my story. Simply put, it sounded better.
The question this leaves me with as a writer who tends to use real-life settings in my fiction is:
How far I can go with changing real-life places and events to suit my story before readers are pulled out of the illusion of the story, thereby becoming unwilling to suspend their disbelief? Or is it a matter of caveat lector (let the reader beware)?
I’d love to hear what you think!