Friday, October 12, 2012

Truth in Fiction?

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
Mark Twain
Have you ever heard the statement ‘life is stranger than fiction’? I found the quote by Mark Twain and it says, “Truth is stranger”. This is so true! Just take a look at the debates of our politicians as they go head to head nit-picking each other apart. I think of another statement by Rodney King many years ago, “Can’t we all just get along?”

As I write fiction, for my readers it comes across as so real, vivid, lifelike in many ways. So is my life experience leaking into my writing? Am I divulging more truth than even they realize?

I love writing non-fiction but that is for the magazines that seek true stories. But what is a true non-fiction story. Is it your truth with a little coloring of adjectives or is it ridiculously painted lies to make it look like truth. Nowadays, I just don’t know anymore.

I’ve read some harrowing stories of some of my closest writing friends and their pain and angst are clearly evident as they trudge through this so-called life. I’ve also read snippets from people who have been in the limelight (I won’t deem them movie stars or politicians) that tell a markedly different story than the one we were led to believe. They write books years after the fact, and that is when the supposed truth, comes out.

Where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between? I see over and over people slinging mud at one another, claiming it as truth, yet I see over and over the person that it is slung at lie, claiming truth. I often get confused with who to believe these days when dear, respected, trusted friends turn their back on you, when people of power turn into dictators relishing the power, and when family surrounds you…from a distance.

What is wrong with that scene? I couldn’t have paved the road and put it in a ‘supposed fictional tale’ any better. When is it okay to lie? When it furthers your agenda? When is it right to tell the truth? To me, always but not all people are like me, they’re very different. Not whom I thought they were so they become a character in life, and as I portray them in fiction.

Is there truth in fiction? You bet. Stephen King has said in his book On Writing, that he was Jack in the Shining. Over and over parts of his life are written into his fiction but he adds a splendid twist to make himself look fictional. I wonder how many other writers are really writing their fictional novel, as a way of healing a part of them that they’d never allow the world to see. Stephen King is now clean and sober and his writing has taken on much different hues, giving us the real him, hiding inside his works.

What is my point to this post? If you’re writing fiction, then you too I believe, are filtering parts of yourself into your writing.  Whether it is truth or a lie, parts of you are being seen and the world is hanging on your every word.

The truth shall set you free. That is what I practice, in writing AND in my life. THAT is how REAL character is built!

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