On Fiction

On Fiction

“Truth is often vastly more stranger than fiction” – EV Lucas, Face on the Wall

I read the story as a kid and this sentence has stuck in my head ever since. Again today I found myself wondering on similar lines. I am a fiction writer. I like telling stories. I like making up things – people and situation. Today, I was wondering does a fiction writer lie for fun?

I have never lied in my life. I don’t like to. A subjective view, of course. I believe it serves no higher purpose. I don’t conceal anything about me either. So, as you would imagine, I am an open book sort of a person. People just need to ask me anything, and I have always told them the truth. Lying does not agree with me. The lengths I would have to go to protect that lie make it absolutely unviable, for me, to lie.

Being secretive is not my thing either. It just makes people suspicious, I believe and they become more nosy than I like. So I just go ahead and tell people what they want to know. I have nothing to hide. Or so I thought up until today.

I realized I am probably more of a liar than anyone of my friends and acquaintances. I lie for fun. I lie when I write. I make up characters, place and people. I write with the authority of a seasoned journalist about life after death, about things that will happen in the future and about spirituality, religion and philosophy.

I have often said and still maintain that even while narrating incidents to friends and family, I embellish, exaggerate. I try and keep the central idea the same. That is why I never tire from repeating. Every time I narrate I take the liberty to tweak some little detail. Add more light to some other. It keeps me and the listeners engaged. It give me joy to entertain with trinkets of my imagination.

I got to wondering how and when did I start making things up. It seemed like we all have a need for a little bit of excitement, a little bit of drama in our lives. Some people get addicted to that and become compulsive liars. There are others like yours truly who become compulsive writers. We all need a dose of drama in our lives. It’s a perfect foil for the drudgery, mundane and monotonous nature of our lives. There are people who steal, cheat just for that bit of adrenalin. It keeps us going.

I’ll close with a quote from self – “All good stories need embellishment.”

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