“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.”~Mark Twain
We’ve all heard this quote a few times. Do you think it’s accurate and if so why? In my opinion, truth is stranger than fiction because sometimes in life there is no rhyme or reason for things happening, or for people doing certain weird things. Real people don’t always have proper motivation for their behavior or for their decisions. They just do it because they feel like it. For instance, in real life people become doctors because they want to be doctors, pure and simple. In a story, however, we’re usually expected to provide some sort of motivation for a character wanting to become a doctor. For instance, maybe a parent of the character died of a certain disease so the character promises to find a cure for this disease or help lots of others to fill the gap of not being able to help their loved one.
In real life, a murderer may have no motive or a very weak motive for committing a terrible crime. But in fiction, our villain needs to have strong motivation to be believable.
It’s true, some things that actually happen, that you see on the news would not be believable if they were written in a fictional book. The author would need to add something to shore it up, some strong reason that it happened.
Some people believe this quote is true because they believe authors can’t think up or create anything as bizarre as things that sometimes happen in real life. I doubt this is the case. Most authors are highly inventive, but we are obligated to stick to a certain number of rules and to make our stories believable. The reader already knows our stories are fiction, so we are constantly trying to convince them to suspend disbelief.
Now, to totally contradict myself… I write some pretty bizarre things in my stories, such as heroes who shape-shift into mythical creatures, and characters who travel through time. These are not seen as bizarre anymore in romance fiction. Lots of stories contain these elements. But compared to real life, they are strange. Some scientists believe time travel may be possible, but so far they’ve only proven it can happen for a few seconds. So, at the moment, time travel is something fictional that is actually stranger than truth and yet still believable within the story realm. Humans who change into animals have been a part of legends for centuries. I even grew up with stories of long ago witchcraft in which the witch magically changed a human into an animal. But I haven’t actually seen this happen. Have you? So, that is another fictional thing that is stranger than truth and still believable.
Why do you think truth is stranger than fiction? Or is it?
Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Nicole North writes hot erotic romance for Red Sage, Carina Press/Harlequin and Ellora's Cave. Books include: DEVIL IN A KILT in SECRETS VOLUME 27 UNTAMED PLEASURES,KILTED LOVER, BEAST IN A KILT (the second in the kilted shapeshifter series) SECRETS VOLUME 29 INDULGE YOUR FANTASIES anthology. SCOUNDREL IN A KILT in SECRETS VOLUME 30 DESIRES UNLEASHED anthology, LAIRD OF DARKNESS, STORM OF PASSION, and BLADE OF THE WOLF. To learn more please visit www.nicolenorth.com