Truth in Fiction? Let’s Hear from the Experts.

14 Feb

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t. ~ Mark Twain

Fiction writers are always talking about the truth. It confused me at first, until I realized that truth in story has little to do with real life; it’s the ability to make the reader believe that what the writer is revealing is a possibility, that it could happen, and in fact it has. The experience a writer portrays needs to become to the audience as real as if they had experienced it themselves.

Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe Fiction writers often find it easier to tell the truth within a pretense of story. It’s easier to be honest, knowing that the truth is snuggled in with the pretend, and the reader is none the wiser to the actual circumstances from which the author learned this truth.

Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense. ~ Mark Twain

If the writer tells a story, it still has to have rules for the reader to follow along. There should be defined boundaries in the world created. Would you keep reading that crime drama if a talking unicorn suddenly appeared? Maybe, if you believe it could happen.

I’ll leave you with this poem.

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise.

4 Responses to “Truth in Fiction? Let’s Hear from the Experts.”

  1. Kelly Gamble February 15, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    I think I did read that crime drama with the talking unicorn…Nonfiction is bound by what actually happened, while fiction is limitless, as long as it could happen. More fun. :)


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