The TRUTH in FICTION

Those two words would be seen individually as almost mutually exclusive. Yet in Fiction there is almost always some element of Truth. Of Believability. In some cases – science-fiction / supernatural themes – a writer creates a whole world. Yet even within that the world needs to be believable.fact or fiction

As you move into contemporary fiction, rural literature, romance… the worlds are generally apart of our world. Writers may create the town but that town exists near somewhere real. The fake town may be based on a real town.

Things that exist in reality can be spotted a mile away.

And here is my dilemma. My work is set in real place, involves real issues in Gold Coast society, even commenting on the road works that took place between 2012 and 2013. As I started writing this four years ago, I have had to amend my timeline more than once, and I’m now dangerously close to the edge where some scenes are losing their factual correctness.

As a READER, if you are reading a book set in your area, how crucial is it that the timing is right?

For example, if the writer describes a past event happening in a space that was once a carpark but is now a shopping centre, does the real-time accuracy of this affect your reading? Would you be wondering if the writer got the years right?

As a writer, how do you tackle this?

I enjoy writing about places that are real with people that come from my mind. But am I treading dark water here?

Please comment your thoughts below, I’m keen for advice on this one!

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4 thoughts on “The TRUTH in FICTION

  1. Good question. If I were reading a book set in my hometown, I don’t know, necessarily, that it would detract from the overall story. I’d most likely just accept it as “true” for the story, regardless of whether it would be “true” in real life. Chances are, if it’s something like road construction, I probably wouldn’t remember exact dates, anyway. I think part of enjoying fiction is accepting that things can be believable without being true or entirely factually accurate. As a writer, though, I’m much more anal about these things — I like having things reflect reality. So I guess it’s about finding some kind of balance.

    • Thanks for your feedback Michelle! Yes, I think I’m being a little bit to anal about it, I have to remind myself I *am* writing fiction, not non-fiction. I want the story to have truth for the people who may read it from around here, those facts aren’t a central figure of the story so perhaps I need to grey them a little. Thanks again 🙂

  2. I had to deal with this a lot while writing my last book. It’s essentially a road trip novel so the setting played a really important part but even though most of the places were written true to the original there were a few instances where I had to take a few liberties. For example, I really wanted to incorporate this real life prison rodeo I’d discovered exists in Louisiana but the real location seemed a little out of the way and didn’t quite fit with the route I’d already planned for my MC. So I moved it. Yes I write contemporary realistic fiction but it’s still fiction and the realism doesn’t necessarily hinge on facts but feelings. I think as long as the story feels real then you can pretty much do whatever you want.

    • Great comment! Thanks 🙂 Loved this:
      “I write contemporary realistic fiction but it’s still fiction and the realism doesn’t necessarily hinge on facts but feelings. I think as long as the story feels real then you can pretty much do whatever you want.”
      Those words struck a cord with me, it’s the feelings that are important. I’m just so close, but having doubts…I guess that’s what editing is for 🙂

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