What is the difference between lie and fiction ?

  1. ACE977

    ACE977 Science fiction fantasy

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    We lie. It's a fact.

    I am wonder if a good liar is a good writer too. I will raise the stake and I will say: a Sci-Fi / Fantasy writer.
    Why ? I assume that you must have imagination to invent a good lie.
    What is your opinion ?
     
  2. Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    One could argue that the SFF writer has an advantage over the writers in other genres and liars: they get, potentially, to invent everything, which means that they are less likely to be caught out by their fictional creations clashing with reality.
     
  3. Peter V

    Peter V Well-Known Member

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    Lying is very different from fiction. Yes a lie is technically fiction but not the other way round. The purpose of fictional writing is (in the vast majority of cases) not to deceive. If something is classified in literature as fiction then it is known beforehand that the story, or certainly elements of the story, are made up. It's the intent that matters.

    I am a terrible liar - partly because I have a pretty mediocre memory and the best liars need a VERY good memory. Some might say I am a terrible writer too but that is not the point because they original question is do good liars make good writers. Personally I think there is no correlation.
     
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  4. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    Lying is for newspapers, SFF is for closer-to the truth?
     
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  5. RX-79G

    RX-79G Well-Known Member

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    People used to lying can be very inventive, but having a poor sense of the line between a lie and the truth makes it harder to tell when your fiction has a sense or truth to it.

    Anyway, lying is primarily acting. Writing is more cerebral. A bad liar can never pull off selling a falsehood, no matter how well crafted.
     
  6. HareBrain

    HareBrain Bunny of Wonder Staff Member

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    I guess to pull off a big lie successfully, you have to anticipate and account for all the ways in which you could be found out, and this is a big help in discovering plot-holes in your own work. OTOH this can lead to giving too much information about why something "must" be true, which in both cases reduces rather then improves credibility.
     
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  7. Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Well, Chimpanzees can lie: Lies! Lies!! Lies!!!

    But Chimpanzee's cannot write SFF.

    Only Shakespeare. :whistle:

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Inari Writer

    Inari Writer Well-Known Member

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    Tricky one.

    Both have to be convincing in order to be effective. Imagination and knowledge of people helps with both. Lying is more likely to be ill intentioned but you can get fascist fiction and well meant lies.

    Fiction is meant to be for art or entertainment. A lie is usually a manipulation. But then if e.g. you feel bad when a character dies that is because a writer has manipulated your emotions. They have 'made of your soul their instrument' (went a bit faux-Byron there).

    And if you delve into the mysteries of the human mind the distinction becomes more blurred. I don't believe that we pluck our stories out of nothing; I think we assemble them from pieces of our own memory, no matter how small or disparate. And we know that our memories lie to us, shifting over time and in response to new knowledge and unconscious bias.

    I guess the main difference is that a liar tells you that they are giving you the truth while a writer usually admits that they aren't, at least not directly.

    I find this subject fascinating as the main character of my novel is a self confessed and near-pathalogical liar.
     
  9. The Ace

    The Ace Scottish Roman.

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    I'd say that a lie is an attempt to avoid personal discomfort/retribution, which is deserved.

    Fiction is pure entertainment, where the writer doesn't expect his words to be taken as fact, but to enjoy the story.
     
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  10. Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    Some years ago I read an article about a survey that said (too far ago to be able to site it) that people of high intelligence and perceived high moral character were the most effective liars. As far as writers are intelligent and most are pretty far above average, this would hold true.
     
  11. Toby Frost

    Toby Frost Well-Known Member

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  12. J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    Would be nice to have something to lie about, like: yes I didn't rob that million bucks. We were taught to never tell small lies, only huge ones, as they had a better chance of getting by.
     
  13. dannymcg

    dannymcg I am not a robot

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    I have at some point, more than one source, heard or read that a devout Roman Catholic makes a very good and convincing liar because they know they can then go Confession and be absolved of any guilt
     
  14. dannymcg

    dannymcg I am not a robot

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    Back to this thread title , difference between lie and fiction.
    After watching the film "The invention of Lying" I spent a day or so just shaking my head. Conclusion was my mate had lied when he told me it was a "good night's viewing"
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  15. ACE977

    ACE977 Science fiction fantasy

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  16. Emphyricist

    Emphyricist Well-Known Member

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    As previously noted, lying requires a deliberated intent to deceive, while writing fiction does not. Most autobiographies are filled with lies, since any false fact presented as the truth would be a lie. Fiction is entirely counterfactual, there's generally no attempt to deceive. Even when an author makes claims about the real world which are wrong and the author knows they're wrong, they may fall under artistic license. I'm not sure it's possible to lie in fiction, though it's certainly possible to misrepresent. If I write a story an alternate history where Shay's Rebellion succeeds and establishes a communist state, that's a clear misrepresentation of Shay's Rebellion.

    I might argue that I'm employing artistic license to make a point about history. You might think that I go beyond artistic license and it's just an unrealistic skewing of facts to serve a not-very-clever point (an issue I have with a lot of alternate history), but it wouldn't be a lie, even though I know Daniel Shays was a communist. It wouldn't be a lie even if I thought Daniel Shays were a filthy communist and set out writing that story to discredit him.

    As for being a good liar vs being a good writer: I'm a terrible liar and a good writer of non-fiction, which of course does not require lying. I have a harder time writing fiction, but that's because I have difficulty writing compelling characters. I have no idea whether I'm any good at it, but Lester Del Rey was notorious in the SF community for his ability to lie with ease and defend his lies against attempts to discredit them, which suggests that most SF writers are not liars of the caliber of Lester Del Rey.
     
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