More Truth & Honesty in Fiction: The Dark Matter

Yesterday, I began a discussion here that was part of an ongoing dialog between myself and many other bloggers – including, but not limited to Lua Fowles, J.P. Cabit, Janna T. and any others who may have commented on yesterday’s post (obviously, I’m writing this before yesterday’s post went live, i.e. from the Past! Via the magic of Science!) – about honesty in fiction.  Yesterday’s post focused specifically on language and how we use it and, more specifically than that, on profanity.

The question at hand is author-extraordinaire Stephen King’s assertion that we have what amounts to a sacred trust with the Reader to represent the world of our story, and its characters, honestly and truly.   But, even in accepting that sacred trust, the question remains as to what represents honesty and truth in the context of what is essentially a fabrication, and figment, a lie.

The question I’m trying to explore in this blog post is the dark matter of fiction.  Story requires plot, and plot requires characters and conflict.  These are the most basic of building blocks in what writers do.  And the heart of conflict is… well… conflict.  That’s a huge can of worms to open.  There are many layers and many depths that we can explore regarding the issue of conflict.  We can skim it lightly, reflecting the little surface conflicts of every-day life: whether to drive too fast or aggressively to get to work on time after sleeping in too late, whether to ask the pretty girl/handsome guy out, whether to ask the boss for a raise, whether to stay home and study for the test tomorrow or go out to hang with friends, whether to lace a little profanity into your speech to seem hip and cool… and so on.  Some readers eat this stuff up, and some writers love to write it.

Me, I’m a speculative fiction lover, writer and reader.  I deal with everyday life conflicts every day.  When I turn to story and fiction, I’m looking for something that plays out on a larger stage.  I’m looking for something that makes it a relief to return to my little, everyday troubles.  I’m looking for something that gives me perspective, and context, and meaning.  I’m looking for something with mythic scope.  I’m not that unusual, in that regard.  Even if that doesn’t float your boat, though, what I’m discussing here will still be relevant. Continue reading