I got a book deal!
Okay, I didn’t. I lied.
How terrible. Why would I lie?
Well, to get a reaction of course.
Oh, come on. We all lie every now and then. Whether it’s a little white lie, a lie of omission, or just an untruth so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings, we all do it. And why?
To get a reaction.
It could be a positive or negative reaction, but it’s something.
I had a writing teacher tell me once that if I got stuck in a story, have the character lie.
Meg Cabot even wrote an entire YA book about a character that lied. A lot. It’s called Pants on Fire. As in liar, liar pants on fire, and it’s really quite good.
So we lie. And when we lie things happen. Seriously, I’m not lying. Things happen.
For one thing, the characters character is brought into question. Are they reliable? Will this change the way the reader understands the story because the character is unreliable? I would say yes.
The lies could also make the character more interesting because you never know what they will say next or where the lie will lead them. Trust me; these crazy characters can really take you by surprise. I’m not lying, they can.
Then of course there is the whole idea that now the character has to get himself/herself out of the lie. Maybe. Either way the story might go in a whole new direction.
And how about the fact that the lie can come back and bite them in the butt! It could happen. Maybe. I’m not lying. Really. Do you doubt me?
Now, as I tell my children, and my parents told me, it’s not right to lie, but with fiction, it’s a whole different game. So go ahead, give it a try, and lie. I won’t tell.
Seriously, I’m not lying, I won’t tell.
But please, don’t tell my mom, she doesn’t know I’m a fiction liar and I don’t want her to know.
Seriously, I’m not lying.
Until next time—