Isn’t Fiction Just Making Stuff Up?

I’ve been thinking more about history and the role it plays in genre, and more specifically with the art of story telling.

I tend to get in trouble when I start thinking, but here we go anyway.

I am fascinated how our perception of history often outweighs verifiable facts and evidence. Especially when it comes to genre. Writers have to be aware of this dichotomy and must be prepared to juggle everything in relation to the story they are trying to tell. It’s a big mental multi-tasking process, but I think it’s necessary.

I am one of the writers who believes story comes first even at the expense of accuracy. If a story calls for something that you know isn’t true, but the story needs that aspect, then you probably should think about putting it in. This is funny because a lot of people who aren’t writers (and some who are) think fiction is just making stuff up anyway. What could be easier than that?

I have never subscribed to this interpretation for fiction.

Fiction isn’t about making anything up. It’s about relating truths on the human condition. That’s when fiction is most powerful. When it is shining a harsh and unforgiving light upon how we view ourselves as human beings it becomes memorable.

As I said in a previous post, not every story calls for this. A writer would be ill-advised to force this aspect into every one of his stories. Some stories are light and airy, some are dark and heavy. In between are about ten million other kinds of stories.

There is a story for every story, if that makes sense. There is no right way to tell a story, and no wrong way. There is just the story itself. A writer must be true to that element alone.

If you do that, if you keep that foremost in your mind, you will rarely go wrong, and your story, and your growth as a writer, will begin.

4 Replies to “Isn’t Fiction Just Making Stuff Up?”

  1. How very accurate. If fiction were simply ‘making stuff up’ then why aren’t more people putting out novels? It’s work, hard work. A piece of you goes into everything you write. Sometimes that piece feels like it was scraped off (tougher subjects) and sometimes it slips off and bounces with humor. But we are in every piece – even when we are ‘being’ another character. Nice post, thanks!

    1. Thanks! I think a lot of people have a misguided view of writing. They just see some person sitting a computer screen. I mean, how hard can that be, right? They don’t know, or don’t understand, all the actual work that goes into writing a story that can be sold. I wish it were easier, haha, but it’s not.

      I’m glad you liked the post! πŸ™‚

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