Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Or, as Scully and Mulder might put it: The truth is out there. Waaaaay out there.

Life is a weird place. If you think about it, everyone’s life involves strings of coincidences that could never have been accepted if you wrote them down, just as they happened, and sent them off as a fiction story. Life is fractal. Every story has a thousand other stories spinning off from it, and each of those do too. If you really tried to write the story of your life, with all the other little stories that fed into it like a river, you would never reach the end in time.

But we, as fiction writers, are doing our thing in order to show the truth. We spin our yarns—our lies—in order to say something about truth to our readers. But in order to do so, we must tone down the truth, make it smaller, break it into digestible lumps. We have to tell less story, not more. In order to make it believable.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cliff Burns
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 09:00:17

    Whoo-hoo, some of my real life adventures are wilder than anything I’ve written about (and I write supernatural thrillers, remember). Like the crazy guy who stopped me on the street, stared at me with real earnestness and outrage and snapped: “What do they think a dog is, a telephone book?”. If I wrote that into a scene, some readers would say I was going over the top…

  2. asherose
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 09:45:30

    Hee hee… exactly the sort of thing I mean.

  3. Windy Lynn
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 18:36:50

    So true! I find myself diluting reality in my work because it is just too, uh, bizarre.

  4. asherose
    Sep 13, 2008 @ 07:28:03

    It is that sometimes. And reality has so many different interesting bits! We have to pick and choose and sort.

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