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Making It Up As You Go

April 13, 2022

There was a Facebook post that asked

Explain What You Do. . .Badly

What would your answer be?

“I’m a writer. I give the truth, scope!”
– Geoffrey Chaucer A Knight’s Tale

I doubt most writers would say they lie. But, like Chaucer, we tend to exaggerate on occasion. Actually, there are two types of writers; those that absolutely write the truth, and those that lie convincingly.

Reporters (bloggers!), tech writers all write, or should write the truth. I’ve written as part of a couple of tech books, and thousands of pages of technical documentation. I write for my local paper. In all cases, I’ve worked very hard to be accurate. An inaccurate tech book is a waste of dead trees.

On the other hand, poets, novelists, science fiction writers attempt to make you think we are writing truth. Or at least enough truth that you can realistically suspend your disbelief and pretend it’s truth.

I was going to put lawyers into the first group, but just couldn’t bring myself to. I think lawyers strive to be legal but don’t (always) concern themselves with truth.

Every writer has been asked “Where do you get your ideas?” And the answer is what makes writers the most convincing liars. We get the idea from every day life. And then, we bend it, and stretch it, we give it scope.

I’m working on a story right now called “Right To Life.” It’s about a christian church leader who works at the United Nations in New York. The problem is that aliens arrive. This sparks both a crisis of faith and a political crisis.

How would the arrival of aliens impact your faith? How would you reconcile your faith with aliens?

The political crisis is one that’s been addressed multiple times in literature. Hopefully I can give it a fresh look. For example, are aliens afforded the same rights as humans? No other species on earth is afforded that privilege.

What does this have to do with lying and stories? The idea for this story idea came about during a discussion I was having with a friend of mine. We were discussing who had a right to life. Does a fetus have a right to life? Is sentience a requirement of right to life? Should octopi have a right to life if we can prove they are sentient?

I don’t know the answers, but I can create a story where we talk about it.

So, the next time you are talking to a writer remember that whatever you say might be used against you. . .and he’s going to lie about it.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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