|Yes, contemporary fiction.|
The headline said: Cheating on the SATs.
Yikes! That sounded familiar. I asked the Educational Testing Service people several years ago if kids could cheat simply by sending impersonators to another school to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test for them. I was researching a work of contemporary fiction and yeah, I go in for making it authentic, why not? Kind of old school in a world where reality television actors work from scripts to create the perception of reality rather than the reality itself (whew), but what the heck, I worship verisimilitude. (Snooky fans: Here's where to go when you see a word you've never seen before. ) I never got an answer from the Educational Testing Service folks, probably because they were too busy covering up the vulnerability of their test system. I mean, it's not like anyone would game their system just to get a scholarship to an Ivy League school or anything.Despite their silence, I couldn't think of any reason my scheme wouldn't work, so I included SAT cheating in "Swain's Folly." In fact a lot of the plot is "moved" by it. I was spot on, by the way, with what the kids in Long Island got up to.
It's nice to be ahead of the curve.
It's kind of a variation on what I did as an investigative journalist. Then, I would imagine what would have to happen to confirm the process by which corruption and rottenness come about, then go look for proof. I imagined, in "Swain's Folly," what would have to happen for a student to impersonate someone else and take the SATs, then built it into the plot. I got it right, apparently.
Imagine that. Well, yes, I did.
The next step, perhaps, will be to actually become a crook by envisioning myself with a million dollars and then implementing my imagination to get it. We'll see how the economy goes.
In the meantime, you can save me from a life of crime. Go buy the book, a fast-moving and not too serious adventure in murder, mystery and love on the real Jersey Shore. There's a few print copies left. And if the price of a meal at Ruby Tuesday is too high, here's a $2.99 digital version you can download in any format you want. That's less money than you'll drop at one stop at McDonald's, and my writing is a lot better for your health than a Big Mac.