Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

More about accuracy in writing: What color were Hitler’s eyes?

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Do you know off the top of your head — what color were Adolph Hitler’s eyes? I ask because, until a few years ago, I didn’t know either.

The answer is they were blue.

The question came up several years ago when I was reading a novel that made reference to Hitler’s “intense stare with his piercing black eyes.” It happened that earlier the same day, I was editing a manuscript for the magazine where I was working. A widely respected “religious celebrity” person had written an article and made an off-hand reference in the article to “Hitler’s icy blue eyes.”

Icy blue or piercing black?? Unless he were part Australian Shepherd dog, he probably didn’t have one blue eye and one black eye. This bit of research took place in pre-Internet days, so I didn’t have a resource as quick and able as Google. I’ve forgotten how where I found the answer, but I did discover Hitler’s eyes were blue.

Would you call such an error in writing an anachronism? No. It had nothing to do with facts out of historic or chronological sequence. It was that simple writing goof up I like to call “an error.”

The novelist got it wrong. (I can’t even remember th e novel now, nor who wrote it. I recall it was on a best-seller list at the time.) My advice to you as a writer would be similar to what I said earlier about anachronisms: Be very careful when you create characters, describe clothing, create physical settings, come up with plot ideas, and do all the other “mechanics” needed to write your novel. Because, assuming you get it published, there’ll always be someone somewhere out there who DOES know what color Hitler’s eyes were. You can bet he’ll read your book take great delight in letting you know about your error.

Don’t make mistakes. Write everything perfectly. Okay, well, then do your best and settle for that. But make sure to do your best. Now get busy and write something to make us all proud of you.

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2 Responses to “More about accuracy in writing: What color were Hitler’s eyes?”

  1. Jaide says:

    He would have looked cool with one blue eye and one black eye though. I have one green eye and one brown eye and I’m not part Australian Shepherd just for your information.

  2. Gary says:

    Okay, so now I actually know someone with two eye colors — besides an Australian Shepherd pup we had when I was a teenager. Thanks for the comment.

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