Poetic License or Tell the Truth?
September 7, 2016 9:12pm CST
Now that my book More Free Cash for College is written, and I’m building my “writer’s platform”, or sphere of influence, I’m busy writing for my blog. It’s called RoadtoFreeCollege.blogspot.com. (I’ve had fits over the last three weeks trying to get my domain name connected, so I can leave out the word BlogSpot. It seems to be impossible.) Meanwhile, I took one of the stories I wrote for the site, April in Paris, James, to my writers’ group. We routinely critique works that some of us bring to the meetings, make suggestions and give words of encouragement. They have been very helpful. But something keeps happening that nags at me. All of my writing is non-fiction. That means that any event I describe really happened. Each time, however, one or more of the other writers suggest changes to make the tales more riveting. In other words, they want me to change non-fiction into fiction. It rankles. Example from this week’s tale, several people wanted me to say that James, who danced with me in the Moulin Rouge, was awkward and stumbled around the dance floor. This wasn’t true. Although this was his first time dancing in his life, he did as well as any other “man” on the dance floor. Sure, it might be cute to say he stepped on my foot, but that would be a lie and disrespectful to him. He may have been only sixteen, and (slow) dancing for the first time in his life, but no one would have known this by looking. What do you think? Should I mangle the truth to make the “story” more interesting?
11 people like this
• Bunbury, Australia
8 Sep 16
No, don't mangle the truth at all. I've taken a real life incident and turned it into fiction but that's totally different because you're just taking an idea or incident. But if I were James I'd be a bit disappointed at least if you wrote him up as awkward. Your writers may be very good but it's still just an opinion or suggestion they're giving but in this case I think they're wrong. And they don't have a personal stake in this either. They may feel differently if it was one of their students they'd danced with.
5 people like this
• Anniston, Alabama
8 Sep 16
No! I stay true. I be myself and I get the views. Just today I wrote an article for a site and I got 412 views and all of it was real! How I grow and cook eggplant! Who would have guessed that many people wanted to read that?! Another day was how to make a pizza got 111 views. I also wrote one about business and filing small claim suits that got 56 views in an hour. But if you feel you have to write a story, then do so but as far as I am concerned, just be you.
• Laguna Woods, California
8 Sep 16
@ElizabethWallace - Absolutely not! Do not lie when you tell non-fiction. Someday, James might read it ... and it can be a slippery slope. However, it is possible that you could be more descriptive of James, the dance, the other dancers, the music, etc. That could also make the story pop.