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To Fib Or Not To Fib

Enceladus (moon of Saturn) Looms Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA

Enceladus (moon of Saturn) Looms Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA

“All warfare is based on deception” Sun Tzu

The Art of War

Not only is warfare based on deception, but so are a lot of other things including acting, advertising, the world’s oldest profession and writing fiction. Credit for the Tzu quote goes out to James Scott Bell, as he used the catchy phrase to accent a short chapter on acting and writing fiction in his writing how-to for novelists, entitled “The Art of War For Writers“.

Is Deception The Same As Lying

Not exactly, but stretching the truth is definitely part of the writer’s domain, especially for those who write fiction. As anyone who enjoys sci-fi stories can understand, the literary world would be a lot poorer, if all writers were limited to the real world. In fact deliberate exaggerations can play a large role in satirical fiction. Prime examples are Gullivers Travels by Jonathon Swift, Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” or “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller.

Small Time Liars

Nonetheless, when it comes to stretching many fiction writers are merely small time thieves. To create a memorial character a writer needs to assume the role of the character, he is writing about, whether it be a divorced postal worker or the head of a multi-billion international corporation, who faces bankruptcy. In the pursuit of this task, the writer may undertake several tasks, which could help him get into the skin of his character. This may include extra research, interviews or even placing oneself in the shoes of the MC. No matter what you do, some blurring of the line between fact and fiction is necessary to create memorable fiction.


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