A good friend of mine, Rob Peters, posted in his blog some pearls of wisdom he gleaned from Jennifer Kornelsen, Ph.D. :
1) The simplest explanation is the best. (i.e. the most likely, the most accurate, the most truthful)
2) The data is what it is. (trust it, let it be…)
3) If you’re nervous and think you’re going to puke, eat something colourful! (at least then it will be Spectacular!)
Rob found these pearls to be as true in Design as in Neurophysiology. I’m here to say they also apply extremely well to Software Design/Development, and IT work. It’s unfortunate that, in software and IT at least, a lot of people forget item number one.
However, in the writing of fiction, I’m not so sure (well, except for item 3), at least not on the surface. For item 1, when the reader reaches the end of a book, the final explanation of event should be clearly evident and obvious, and yes, even simple. But during the reading of the book, the simplest explanation of the events occurring is usually the one you want the reader to follow, but should not be the true reason. You gotta keep ’em interested.
In writing fiction, item 2 closely correlates to item 1. This can be especially true when reading a first person narrative, where everything presented to the reader is viewed through the eyes of a single (or potentially multiple first person) characters. If the character looks at the world through rose colored glasses (cliché), then that is how the reader will interpret the events (data) in the book, and therefor, the data is tainted.
Perhaps I should re-phrase my original statement. To the reader of fiction, the above pearls should not be true, but to the writer, they probably should.