Monday, April 18, 2011

Can Fiction Be Fiction?

Quote of the Day:  "Anyone ever heard of Funeral Potatoes? Not sure I want to eat them..." ~David Boreanaz (Agent Booth from Bones) via Twitter while visiting Utah. Hahahaha!

Weather Check:  Overcast and rainy. Let's hope it sticks. Smells wonderful outside.

I've been following the story of Greg Mortenson and his book "Three Cups of Tea." So sad. And it is the perfect reminder to me of why I prefer the novel over nonfiction and memoir. How do I know what they say is true. Everyone is prone to embellishment. But when it's out there in a book, it doesn't feel like embellishment, it feels like lies.

So then I started wondering ... is there room for embellishment in fiction. We watch TV where stuff that could never happen happens all the time. And we say, "Cool! They just figured out who the killer is and saved the world based on a grain of sand." Or "Wow, that car just did a triple back flip over a cliff and the driver didn't get hurt at all." We accept it and move on. Maybe with TV, seeing is believing.

It seems harder to get away with stuff like that in a book. I don't know why. Maybe the printed word carries more weight. We read with skepticism, questioning the reality of what is happening in our book of fiction. Then we scoff and say, "Ha! I don't buy that."

Every genre of fiction has different standards of realism, of course. And things have to fit into whatever realm of reality we write, all with some sense of believability.

But I say hey, if it's fiction, let it be fiction.

1 comment:

  1. That is an excellent point, Julie, and one I never really thought about before. Our willingness to suspend disbelief does seem so much more... well, willing... when it comes to what we see than what we read. I wonder why?

    Last night after watching the "60 Minutes" report with my 10 year old son, I asked him, "What did you learn from this?" He said, "Don't lie." Which I suppose is one good lesson. I said, "Also, don't believe everything you read." But it sure is heartbreaking when a story of philanthropy and good will turns out not to be true.