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Monday, September 12, 2011


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For my grandfather "telling stories" is a synonym for "telling lies". The difference, I think, comes in what you were talking about with "The Lost Symbol". The reason that book grates is because there are ways writers can tell the truth with their fiction and ways they can lie. And usually the reader can smell a lie a mile away--that's why people get angry when characters behave in ways that don't make sense.

So you write to evoke an emotion. (Say, disgust. Ewww, maggotty apples.) But even if the scene evoking the emotion is made up, the emotion is real, and the reasons we feel it are real. It's a truth, in other words, to experience heartache because someone is losing their love. It's a truth to search for redemption (even if you redemption takes you some weird sci-fi path). It's a truth to struggle with temptation even when you know better. It's not true for a person to have no flaws and make no mistakes.

So yeah. I think for a writer telling a made-up story can be telling the truth. At least, that's what I try to do.

John Ling

Fiction is real life with all the boring bits taken out.

John Ling

Or, to put it another way, non-fiction is the search for fact. Fiction is the search for truth.

Fadzlishah Johanabas

I like how you put it. I don't really think about fiction as lying, because, to be honest, lying is not a good way to make money. And I need all the little blessings I can get.

John Ling

To be honest, there's more lying in 'non-fiction' than there is in fiction.

Case in point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_cups_of_tea

double glazed sash windows

Storytelling isn't exactly a lie or truth. It's just a tool for communication. It depends on the intentions of the storyteller if it's true or not.

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