Why You Should LIE In Your Book (But in The Right Way)

We’ve grown up thinking that lies are a bad thing. And then you become a writer. What do writers do most of the time? At least those that write fiction create a story that it’s entirely a lie. Nothing happened like that. The characters can be inspired in people but even in historical fiction, most of the times they are completely different from reality. The facts could have passed in a way but even so, writers change everything for the story to make sense.

So, what are we doing? Lying. We are telling our readers that this is all made up, most of the time it’s not even on Earth. Nothing is real.

So why is a book still relevant?

We all know that it’s not true, we all know that this is all the writer’s imagination telling us a story.

Shouldn’t we focus on History books then instead of in fiction?

Why is fiction relevant even though the majority of it is all lies?

Because we are communicating true things.

It’s through lying that we are making it easy for the reader to analyze their real life.

When we read real facts on a History book, we could empathize with the people and the events, however, we do not go into their lives. We stay in the science domain of history facts. It’s very sad to read about how many died in the Second World War in a History book but we are more interested in studying what caused the war.

However, when you get the life of Eustace, an eighteen-year-old Jew in a concentration camp in a book, you simply lose it. What’s the difference then? Eustace is not real. The way he had to leave his family is not real. All the Nazis there are not real. So, why we cry our hearts out when we read historical fiction like that and we don’t really care when we read about the real facts in a history book?

Simply because it can be all made up but the emotions are real.

And this is how you make your book extremely relevant.

You tell something made up that conveys the truth in it.

You do it so the reader is taken into a journey that is absolutely fake but all true.

It doesn’t need to be in historical fiction. Get a fiction novel, let’s say, Hunger Games.

What happens in the Hunger Games? A dystopic government makes every year kids kill themselves in a television show. Everyone watches it like the World Cup. There’s no critical sense from society. They choose their favorite and cheer for them until they die in the arena.

Everything there is made up.

That world doesn’t exist.

But as you’re reading, you start to question: wait… a minute. Isn’t it weird how we watch people die in wars all the time and we don’t even question that?

It doesn’t need to be this kind of tragic book either. It could be something happy book like Harry Potter. You’re there reading about a wizard going to Hogwarts, everything is made up when you come up with the following quote:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” —Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

And you think: wait a minute…

Also, it doesn’t need to be a conscient thought. The stories that we read shape our minds without us even noticing it. We are not sure of the message behind it but a good story stays with you, it touches you.

All through lies

I learned everything about Truth in Fiction in a Masterclass from Neil Gaiman

Everything that I’m telling you here is from Class 2, in my own words of course.

And it’s something I had never stopped to think about.

How every fiction that we read is all made up.

So, why some fiction is amazingly good and touches us while others we can barely remember that we read?

Because of all the truth behind that lies.

It doesn’t matter how
outlandish the world of your story is, it should feel real
to the reader. – Neil Gaiman Masterclass

How do you create this kind of fiction that conveys the truth?

Neil Gaiman tells us the following:

“If you’re going to write… you have
to be willing to do the equivalent of
walking down a street naked.”

This is so meaningful for me.

Because it is HARD to show your truth.

The thing you truly feel, the facts that happened to you and still embarrasses the hell out of you, or it makes you extremely sad.

When you show that through lies when you open your soul, it’s when your fiction will feel true. It’s when readers will feel the same way.

Fiction has to be honest.

Honesty through lies.

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