Sunday, May 14, 2017

Fiction: A Sliver or the Truth

Photo: Claudia Del Balso
Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life". (Original source: Wikipedia)
I decided to write a blog post about this subject because I am working on a short story that takes a sliver of truth from an event that occurred to me. Although writing the story was cathartic, the inspiration was nonetheless painful.

When I asked my mentor if I could write fiction using real events, he said that most fictional stories originate from real life events.
So when you start writing your short story or novel, make sure that you’re objective about what you already know. If you’ve done some research and want to include it in your narrative, use a language your readers will understand. You’re not writing a thesis.
Facts add seasoning to any narrative, but no matter the genre, good fiction transports the reader into another world.
Another point to consider is being efficient on how you use the information from sources, such as magazine articles, newspaper reports, scientific books, etc. Don’t overwhelm your reader with unnecessary information or detour a colorful anecdote and turn it into a medical or police report.
Be true to your story. Facts can be fun if you do it right. If a detail doesn’t move the story forward by establishing the setting, advancing the plot or shedding light on the characters, get rid of it.
 “The reason we use truth in fiction is so we can tell a bigger, better lie,” says David Hewson, bestselling author of the Nic Costa thriller series. “It’s the lie—how big, convincing and ‘real’ it is—that matters.”


  1. Spot on. One of the reasons Wuthering Heights is so effective is because Bronte anchors the gothic - and frankly - unbelievable elements in the material, a dense portrayal of the prosaic. You suspend your disbelief because everything else is so real. PS, I've emailed you and checking now that I've used an up to date address :)

  2. Hi Mike,
    Thank you for your email. I will work on it ;)

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