Make Stuff Up: How To Write A Lie To Tell The Truth

Make Stuff Up

 

Photo Credit: Flickr user  JB London

Book Progress Update: Before we get started, I just wanted to let you all know that my next book Adelaide and the Battle of the Bands is about 80 percent complete as far as the writing is concerned. Editing and publishing takes a little bit of time, but I’m still hoping for a late June release, possibly early July. -Tyler

Several years ago I had a t-shirt that had the words “I MAKE STUFF UP” written across the chest area, which taught me two valuable things in life. The first is to never wear a clever t-shirt because people will stop me so that they have time to read it. I choose to no longer live the life of a bumper sticker. I’d rather use my time to do the other thing I learned. Making stuff up gets people’s attention, so why not use that to my advantage?

Of course, it actually took me a long time to figure that part out. After all, lying is bad, right? Sure, when it’s really lying. That is to say, if I were lying in the sense that I would be trying to deceive you, that would be bad. But if you go into one of my stories knowing that it’s just a story, then I’m not really deceiving you. In reality, I’m doing something much more. I’m trying to prove a point about something. I don’t want you to think my story is true, I just want you to believe it to be true enough to get something else out of it. Just ask this famous storyteller:

“Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.”
― Alan Moore, author of V for Vendetta

So when you read my first novel The Dream or my next fiction book Adelaide and the Battle of the Bands, you’ll be sure to bet that I’m writing each of them because I have something I want to say about life, even if I approach them in different ways.

In fact, I have approached these two different book series in very different ways. Being a Christian fiction author has its interesting quirks, particularly in deciding how “Christian” my books need to be. One reviewer on Amazon called The Dream didactic and he was right. I was trying to entertain, but I was also trying to teach. The same can be true with the Adelaide series, but it will be completely different. I don’t want to give away too much just yet, but I want to use something said by one of my own favorite authors to help clarify where I’m going with this:

“The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.”

― C.S. Lewis

It might be too early to call what I am doing literature. At least not in the superior work of art sense. I’m just getting my feet wet here, but this is the ultimate goal in mind. Let me make it clear that I’m not offended by Christians who write stuff for other Christians, especially since a lot of people will think that is where The Dream fits in, though I hope it doesn’t stop there. In reality, I want my writing to affect everyone. I want to take what I’ve learned as a Christian and present it to the whole world.

Everyone has something to say. Some people have better things to say than others, but we all have the right to say what we believe, even in countries where the government disagrees. There may be consequences. The worst consequence for me will probably be a bad review. In fact, I got a 1 star review from someone because my book was religious. I think I’ll survive that kind of torture.

Ultimately, a fiction writer should be telling the best lies in order to tell the best truth. If you’re unsure how to tell a lie, don’t ask the experts. After all, they’re just making it up as they go along.

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