Good writers, good liars - Page 4


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Thread: Good writers, good liars

  1. #31
    Writing a made-up story is fabrication.
    When we write stories, we are embellishing reality with something that did not happen (or at the very least did not happen the way we are saying it did) and we want it to be believable, want it to be immersive and captivating, often want people to think it actually did happen or could.
    This is a highly specific definition of storytelling. For one, the word 'fabrication' explicitly contextualizes storytelling within the word 'falsehood.' This heavily implies that the writer is intentionally lying to his audience, which is ridiculous, because it is collectively understood that fiction, by definition, did not literally happen. The fact that the audience found the events of the story exciting or sad or terrifying and thus were emotionally moved is completely irrelevant. You might as well try to argue that people who were moved by Starry Night were lied to because don't you know, that's not a real night sky. Ridiculous. It was beautiful regardless, and maybe even independent of, the 'real' night sky. For another, you assume that storytelling is a fundamentally environmental product. In other words, the creation of fiction is not the creation of something new, it is the twisting of an existing thing. Thus the claim, 'fiction is a lie.'

    To my eyes, the second claim has far more merit than the first, and it's kind of unassailable, because anyone's opinion on it is intimately tied to whether or not they believe in free will. The creation of something independent of its inputs is obviously immeasurable. I genuinely believe that when I write a story or pencil out a drawing, I have created something truly original, no matter how awful it might be (especially with regards to my drawings, lol). I was actually lying in my basement thinking about this tonight. The capability of humans to take something 'void,' like a piece of marble or paper, and turn it into something with form and meaning. Is the paper twisted? Have I violated what it means to be paper? I don't think so. I think I have taken a piece of raw material and shaped it to my desires. Experience, 'reality,' can be seen as a kind of raw material for storytelling.

    The best view, in my opinion, is that fiction can actually be used for both truth and falsehood. I see fiction as essentially parables-- stories that we know didn't literally happen, but teach us valuable moral truths by distilling life down to its essence. You can tell parables that teach falsehood, or parables that teach truth. A related concept would be a heuristic.
    btw the inevitable example of the person who doesn't understand fiction is fictional doesn't matter. That person simple isn't seeing the world properly. Unless you want to argue the purely subjectivist standpoint without deconstructing the self. Which is a legitimate (while wrong) point of view, but it's kind of tangential to the issue at hand.
    Stranded in Babylon

  2. #32
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Norwich, UK
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    I am a good liar. My family and I sometimes play games when they come to visit and we play a game called "Would I lie to you?". One of us tells a story that could either be a lie or the truth and they have to figure out if it's true or not. I always win.

    Never thought of it relating to writing though. I think writers can be manipulative. How many times have readers rooted for a character we probably shouldn't. Or when a writers uses an unreliable narrator.

  3. #33
    i kind of disagree with this. some of the most truthful things i say are in my fiction. it's where the subconscious is given free reign.
    with no props or facades. it may wear a mask, but it never lies. i feel all art is as such. when it's good.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  4. #34
    Maybe the way to solve this question is to conduct a poll.

    How many of you writers would consider yourself a good liar?
    I am very good at it, but I only use it to conceal things I should not be doing.

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