So when you're writing, what do you do when reality is less dramatic than you want? What do you, as a writer and as a reader, think is too much modification for dramatic effect, and what's acceptable? We talked about how Sorkin made a character named Zuckerberg who founded a company named Facebook, and that this invention gets resonance from the actual reality but is made into a more entertaining experience than the reality (Harvard is way more fun, Z is way more evil, than reality). But let's go into your own authorial inclinations. When you're faced with the question of more precisely replicating reality or modifying it to suit your dramatic needs, how do you decide?
For example, let's say the protagonist is prosecuting a capital murder case. Cases like this might drag on for months, and the preparation might also take months. However, "months" isn't dramatic. Also, the prosecutor might be working on several cases at once. All the tension could go out of the book if the protagonist has months to prepare, and has to keep switching to other cases. Drama is in focus, after all.
So if you were writing this, would you stick with reality (months between arrest and trial) or go with greater drama (more unreality-- the judge says, "Trial in 2 weeks!")? Is there some mechanism that will make whichever you choose work better (like something that causes the judge to limit the amount of prep time)?
What about when there's a contradiction with fact? Like maybe this case is taking place in NY state, which limits the death penalty to a few types of cases (killing a cop, I think). What would you think of ignoring that to make this a death penalty case? Is that too far?
What is the dividing line for you? What have you been willing to modify about reality, and what would be too far?