Books

How much fact is in your fiction?

10:30 am 0 Comments A+ a-

Hey Everyone!

I mentioned the other day that I've been doing an online writing course. In one section we had to post two truths and a lie, then see if the other writers could guess which statement was the lie. In most cases it wasn't easy to tell, but the ones that were obvious were the people who made their lie outrageous and impossible. I made a comment after that was succinct enough to share on twitter.

 This quote inspired Melissa, a fellow Aussie writer to write a blog post. This got me thinking again about how much truth is in my fiction. The short stories I've shared on ABC Open are all fact. A recount of actual events was a good place for me to stretch my writing fingers. I had the story, I just needed to find the words that fit it.

The book I'm working on is a blend of fact and fiction. The setting is a real place, Darwin, where I'm currently living. The jobs and hobbies are taken from those I have experience with. The leading lady has my husbands job in the military and the leading man loves my favourite hobby, swing dancing. The characters themselves are all fictional. They may share a blend of characteristics from people I know, but none of them are based on any one person.

I'm writing contemporary romantic comedy fiction, so it's easy to see where fact can fit in, but even if you're writing fantasy, you can include something real. The world may be imaginary, but the characters need to feel real to be relatable. Your main character may have blue skin, silver hair, and three eyes, but if you can show her experiencing an emotion you've felt yourself, she will feel more real. Some of my favourite fantasy is set in a medieval style world. Raymond E. Fiest and Jany Wurts wrote a trilogy set in an Asian style world (The Empire series - some of my all time favourite books). Historical fiction writers may not have personally experienced the time they are writing in, but research will help them add facts that made the story feel authentic.

How much fact is in your fiction?