Fiction Writers Can Eff Around with Almost Anything If It’s True



fiction fairies and facts

Fairies exist in the minds of fiction writers, for sure

I’ve neglected my blog readers as I’ve spent a ton of time this month creating strong web visibility for two new clients. I apologize, but the new SEO fascinates me and I’m immersed. Dragged myself out of it last evening and watched two interesting movies on the same topic to see how two sets of writers treated a relatively true story. I didn’t learn much new but reaffirmed to myself that fiction writers are free to reweave almost anything—facts, characters, setting, events, history, as long as they do it with a sense of justice and truth to worlds they create.

The movies are Fairy Tale: A True Story and Photographing Fairies. Both are very loosely based on some true events that resulted in this photograph:

fiction writing and fact

Cottingsley Fairies

The moral of my post is that an author or a ghostwriter has a lot of leeway in how they treat facts, history, or a news report. Witness Jodi Picoult, a wildly popular mainstream author who writes a book or more a year “based” on hot topics like Columbine, or Asperger’s syndrome.

Ms. Picoult, a capable writer, plays fast and loose with facts, but because her novels are just that, novels, they often make compelling reading. The caution is that basing writing too tightly on real events sets the writer up for pulling readers out of the story when something rings false. Picoult has been know to put readers in exactly that position, but hey, her books sell, and that’s my point. Go ahead and re-imagine reality.

I wrote the comparison post for my Google+ profile —hop over and read it. You’ll see how I took in both movies. Then watch the movies and see how you experience two different writer-treatments. Do let me know!





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4 Responses to “Fiction Writers Can Eff Around with Almost Anything If It’s True”

  1. Don’t they have to loosely base it on facts, if it were based on fact alone, wouldn’t they have to ask for permission and such? Like with songs and poems? That would be a drag when you’re trying to right a fictional book.

  2. Best rule of thumb is, if you’re in doubt about material your using and its ownership, get permission (or write a disclaimer). Thanks for visiting!

  3. When you say how fiction writers can eff away with anything,why jus zero it on on fiction writers? Well I believe every story can be told differently. I also believe no two minds can think alike-perspective.

  4. Well, I can’t argue your perspective, but I will say that if you’re writing non-fiction, you’ll need to check your sources, check your facts, and make the true stuff true. Thanks for coming by!