These days honesty is a rare thing. We have media telling us stories with slants, we have politicians telling us crap like we are all gullible and we have writers who say they are writing a true story but in essence are still just fiction writers. So how important is it to be honest as a writer? In my opinion, honesty is everything…keep in mind I said honesty…which is not necessarily the truth. Here, let me explain…
To be honest as a writer means to be honest in your writing. Even a fiction writer has to be honest in their work even though their story is totally made up. You see, your work has to be honest in that, it is the best you have to offer and it is as real as you can get. Even fiction stories have to have an element of honesty. If you don’t personally believe in your story, your readers will pick up on it. Case in point…James Frey.
James Frey could have totally gotten away with writing a fiction work and telling everyone it was the truth. It wasn’t his story that got him caught, it was the fact that, in the end, he didn’t believe it either and it showed through. Now I am not advocating that you write a “true story” and then pass it off as such but I am saying that every story has to have an element of truth to it and you, as its creator, have to believe it. An “honest” writer pours their heart into their writing, fiction or not, so that the reader believes. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was not a “true” story but by the time they are finished reading it, most readers believe that it is possible that there is a magical place called Narnia; that was the point after all.
Putting honesty into your work is easy and it is essential to any great story. If you want your readers to enjoy your writing you have to convince them that anything is possible. Remember that your audience is primed for the truth because they get so little of it in the real world these days.
© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.