Artistic License

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Chris Hastings: See, Dad doesn't think the decompression would tear open a hole that big in such a small plane, but obviously Dr. McNinja lives in a world that operates like a Mortal Kombat stage.The Adventures of Dr. McNinja Ch 14, p 17 Alt Text

Creators are allowed to be inaccurate if the inaccuracy serves the story better than accuracy would.

In a nutshell, the writer is aware that some parts of the show are inaccurate. The history is wrong, or the science is off, or something else. It's easy to assume that the writer Did Not Do the Research. But they may well have. Often they know that what they are writing is off, and wrote it anyway.

It's about putting the story first.

Telling a good story is what is most important in fiction [1]. If some things have to be fudged for the sake of a good story, then they will be fudged. If things have to be sped up to stay interesting, they will be. These are changes to ensure Emotional Torque.

Yet this is a double edged sword. For the license to work, the story has to be good. A bad story will often look worse for its inaccuracies. There isn't a complete consensus, of course, about which stories are on the right or wrong side of Sturgeon's Law.

The license also doesn't allow every kind of inaccuracy. People still expect characters to be consistent. This cannot be used to excuse Character Derailment or Contrived Stupidity Tropes. It also doesn't excuse false claims of accuracy. It will allow violations of External Consistency, and sometimes Genre Consistency, but usually not Internal Consistency.

It is as old as fiction itself.

Not to be confused with the open source license used for Perl, a Scripting Language that's popular on UNIX and Linux systems.

  1. (unless you're PoMo in which case storytelling also can also take a back seat to playing sufficiently interesting semiotic language games)

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