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Know Jack #386 Fiction or Fake?

“Look there, friend Sancho, and behold thirty or forty outrageous giants, with whom, I intend to engage in battle, and put every soul of them to death…”

Don Quixote de la Manche

At first glance saving the world is much easier when it’s one you have created. The trouble is that a writer’s world can take on a life all its own. When that happens, trying to impose rules from outside makes your fictitious world appear fake and that spells doom.

Fictitious means imaginary—elements are put together from the raw materials stored inside the writer’s head and heart. We are told to write what we know. However, this has little to do with facts. It has much more to do with life experience.

If you’ve known heartbreak and loss, imparting that experience to an imaginary person makes them and the world they live in more believable. Unless your character is delusional, like Cervantes’s knight-errant, reality must be an experience shared by the reader and writer. If you see giants, your reader needs to see them too. Writing what you know means writing what the readers know or want to experience.

Disbelief can only be suspended for so long and credibility stretched just so far before it all falls apart. A fake describes a sham or counterfeit. When the world you create is contrived, when the characters and scenes are forced, it will collapse under its own weight of unbelief.

I spent the biggest part of the weekend with new friends from Alabama Paranormal and Bigfoot Group. The free exchange of ideas was amazing. We didn’t necessarily all agree on every topic discussed. However, everyone was free to share their thoughts without the intolerance of other views espoused by so much of modern society. This was because speakers shared what they knew/experienced, shared experience, and a general willingness to listen to every voice.


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