Ark: Truth in Fiction

How many times have you said, or heard someone say, "You can't make this stuff up," or "Truth is stranger than fiction."?  More times than you can remember, no doubt.

People at book signings often ask me why I became a fiction, as opposed to a nonfiction writer.  I answer by telling them two short stories.  Both of them seem reasonable, but, I say, there's a catch.  Only one of them is true, which do you think is?  So far, I haven't had a unanimous vote.  Fiction gives me the ability to use an actual event in the story, and most readers probably think I made it up.

Here's an example.  In reality, Cal, my real life friend, and character in the book, were driving to a Summer League basketball game.  My cell phone kept ringing, but I don't like to answer the phone in the car.  In New Jersey, it's against the law.  Finally, I thought, this may be important, I should take the call anyway.  As I reached into my pocket for the phone, it slipped out of my hand.  As I tried to grab it, I swerved the car, which  startled Cal, enough to give him the shakes.  I pulled the car over, like the law suggests, made the call, which turned out to be nothing.

The incident found it's way into the book.  Again, I'm driving in the car with Cal, and I'm toying with the idea of letting him know what's going on between me and the ghosts.

From the book,

"We were almost at the end of Route 20.  A couple of minor roads and side streets and we'd be at St Mary's High School gym where the games were played.  I was about to change the subject, but before I could speak, 'Tell No One else!'

I swerved the car slightly, but enough to give Cal a start.  He looked over at me and fidgeted in the seat.  It was a good thing the top was down, for his head's sake.

I'm OK.  I thought I saw a piece of glass on the road (fib).  Sorry, Cal"

There are quite a number of events in the book, which if aren't outright truths, are heavily based on it.

To find out, read the book, and come to one of my book signings to ask me!

1 comment:

  1. @ John - Interesting post. I often use events in my life in a fictionalized manner. Sometimes very closely and sometimes I will simply use a random event in my life and use it to accent a story.