Uncovering this lie was like lifting a metaphorical rock and unearthing a sophisticated network of deceit beneath. In our conversation following this discovery, I told my teenager to have the guts to stand by their decisions. Essentially, if you do something, have the courage to be honest about it, even if you think I won't like it.
In spite of this situation, I need to say that the individual in question is a remarkable, wonderful person. I love this child more than I can possibly convey, and I feel bad about being lied to because I thought we had a better relationship than that. Now, my teenager is learning a painful lesson; that once spent, trust is a difficult currency to earn.
Enough about parenting. I didn't invite you to my blog to distress you. However, I would like to apply this experience to writing. (Don't I apply almost everything to writing?) Anyway, here's my question: As you are reading fiction, do you ever feel lied to? I get that fiction, in and of itself, is fabricated, but shouldn't the author make us feel it is real, that the characters and plot lines exist? I cannot tell you how many times I have put a book down, unfinished, because a character inexplicably loses IQ points and begins saying and doing things that are, well, completely out of character. I also stop reading if I feel manipulated, patronized, or if the author appears to be writing by rote. I lose faith in the storyteller.
In his book On Writing, Stephen King wrote, "Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all . . . as long as you tell the truth."
Aww, Stephen. If you don't love his good heart as it is shown freely in On Writing then you need to read the book a few more times.
Integrity makes life easier, and I think that quality makes writing fiction easier as well. How do you keep your stories honest?