Question...nothing to do with Schizophrenia

I know this isn’t a writing board, but I don’t know where else to go to post the question. I’m working on my story and have finally got to the writing portion of the novel.

The thing that bothers me the most is I’m not exactly sure if my scene is “real”. I mean true it’s a fictional story, but it’s in a real city. with a real job position. My character is a 911 dispatcher. I’ve read several books on the generic of being a dispatcher, but with such a specific area, should I stick to how things really work? The problem with that is I don’t know how this particular branch really does their dispatching. I went on the county website and they give a very generic response, but then I’m worried if I’m writing and it gets published someone will come up and say, “That’s not how it’s done there…”

Well, that’s what’s happening with my voices. It’s very distracting trying to write when they’re pointing out specific details. Yes, it’s set in a real place. Yes there is a 911 dispatch center in the location I’m writing about. No, the character’s aren’t real. No the situation is not real. How much reality do I need before it crosses the border of fiction to non-fiction?

I can’t get my voices to shut up tonight.

No novel or tv show or movie ever gets 100% of the details right. As long as you did your research, that should be sufficient. There are always things that have to be left to the imagination. You could always try to find a dispatcher to interview if you like. Maybe you have a friend of a friend of a relative who is a dispatcher or something. Or, if there is anyone on facebook who has that listed as their job, maybe you could ask them.

But really, I think the research you’ve already done is sufficient for an accurate novel.


It’s your book, it can be as real or not real as you want. Personally I hate digging for tiny details like that so I usually avoid realistic places altogether and delve into fantasy so I can make up whatever I want lol. If you publish it, there’s going to be only a very small chance that someone who knows the exact procedures of that one specific center will read it, and probably an even smaller chance you’d actually be called out on it, and even if that happened, who cares? Like you said, you’re writing fiction.

Of course if it was non-fiction you’d want every detail perfect, but fiction do whatever you want.

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Most of the time any jobs that u see in stories are exaggerations of the real thing. U gotta take the facts and juice them up a little. Sprinkle a little unordinary on the ordinary life of a dispatcher. But thats ur standard model really. U don’t have to follow it. U can make ur dispatcher a parapalegic and it could work. Look at family guy. Joe is paralyzed from the waist down but hes somehow able to drive and they even did a joke about him being an uber driver in an episode. Like Anna said u can make it as real or unreal as u want. In the end the character will carry a little piece of u from ur own writing style which gives the character character.

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I wish I remembered more of when I called the 911 number. The lady on the other end was very calm and seemed to take forever to talk or do anything when I was freaking out. Other than that I don’t remember much.

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No story is ever perfect as far as real life goes, plus I’m sure different places do things differently even in back to the future they used a pay phone in the future and not a cell phone

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I would refrain from involving 911 dispatch position. just say it’s a police dispatcher instead, and then there would be much more lenient criticism I would think?

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Thank you all for the ideas and comments