It’s simple, it’s not that simple; or life is simple, but the things in it are not. When a man does not understand it, he tends to inflate it. When he does, he tends to deflate it. In the end, neither images are fully accurate.
You’ve got to make an effort to get the details right, because even through someone picks it up and knows it’s a novel, they know someone’s made it up and they know it’s not real, if you make a small mistake they will cease to imaginatively engage with the story.
A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.
Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.
I have no problem in moving a date one way or another or coming up with a subplot that gets my characters in (or out) of a fix more rambunctiously than the extant records show.
It will be worth it if I am remembered, if not flatteringly, then at least with some small amount of accuracy.
The hype cheapens the hyped, as right things are then made wrong by exaggeration.
And in the absence of facts, myth rushes in, the kudzu of history.
The best of fiction, as we know, of course, doesn’t tell the truth; it tales the truth.