Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lies vs fiction

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." ~ Stephen King



Fiction is made up. Does that mean it's just a bunch of lies? Well, let's see, the definition of a lie is to intentionally mislead. While writers sometimes exaggerate to make a point come across stronger, their purpose of writing fiction is most often to point out significant truths about life and the human existence. Yes, we fiction writers make up all sorts of stuff: characters, events, worlds and whatever else we want - and we have great fun doing it. For most of us it's about telling truths as we perceive them. Fiction can actually be a very honest art form.

That isn't to say, however, that all fiction contains the truth. I suppose it's possible that some writers might actually want to mislead by means of fiction, although I can't imagine there are many. Also, not everyone in this world shares the same truths or perceptions of things. You might not agree with an author's truth, but that still doesn't make it a lie. It's just another view of things. If an author is really good, he can make a reader who has an opposing viewpoint stop and at least consider things from his point of view.

Monday's post: Marvelous middles


16 comments:

  1. I think there is always an element of truth in fiction writing, as I write poetry I tend to write about my life's experiences or places I have been to.

    Enjoy your week-end.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poetry is so full of truth. I love it.

      Delete
  2. I guess just because something's the truth, it's not necessarily a lie.

    ReplyDelete
  3. People who conflate lies and fiction infuriate me. Fiction is a fabrication the audience knows isn't true and engages with. It's neither fashioned like, nor does it function like, a lie.

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A character in a book I once read (I think it was one of the Anne of Green Gables books, one of the late ones with her children) explained it by saying that stories aren't lies because you aren't meant to believe them. I.e., no intention to deceive, as noted. Those who equate fiction with lies (something I thought had died out early in the 20th Century, but I was apparently wrong) are presumably also prone to read everything literally.

      Delete
  4. Finally, someone addresses this issue! The core of Harry Potter is that love is the most powerful magic of all, The Fault in Our Stars tears down the Romanticization of cancer-survivors and is brutally honest about life and death... I could give you a hundred more examples, yet people still confuse fiction with lies. It's annoying.

    Lovely post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I also love Harry Potter, I mean, who doesn't, right? Love the message. I'm going to have to read The Fault in Our Stars now. Thanks for the turning me on to it!

      Delete
  5. Interesting post! I think that if someone is writing non-fiction that is actually fiction, that's a lie. But fiction isn't so much a lie as just a piece of writing that allows us and encourages us to suspend reality. So we are willingly buying into the lie I guess. The mark of great fiction is the kind that transports you I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the goal of most authors to transport and the desire of most readers to be transported. A very, very important aspect of writing.

      Delete
  6. I know it's Sunday and you're taking the day off from A-Z, but I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award over at my blog today. http://katejarvikbirch.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-liebster-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  7. My writing group is called Pride of Liars, using the whole writer-as-liar joke. It's true we don't intentionally mislead. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction anyway, in fact it usually is. I've seen a lot of true stories seem unbelievable, where fiction feels more true, even though it isn't. It's an interesting concept.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction, isn't it? Fiction has to make sense or we, as writers, break the credibility rules. Reality is more chaotic and strange than we realize, I think.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete