According to the marketing gurus, last year was a tough year for marketing. The number one missing element in the marketplace was, and is, ‘trust’. I find it laughable that marketers—the very “image-makers” themselves—are worried that the public, and the younger crowd especially, doesn’t trust a managed perception. Have the professionals not lied well enough?
Fiction as a Way of Life
For us fiction authors, lying is a way of life. Indeed, it is our livelihood. We create, market and sell created people, places—even whole universes!—that don’t exist. And we do our best to make these lies so plausible that our consumers don’t notice that there’s really nothing there. Our goal is to induce our readers to “suspend belief”, to use their imagination, as they read. Believe what we say, not what you know is true, we whisper. Surely this could happen… and, oh look! Look what comes next!
Fiction as Neighbors
I don’t think fiction authors are a bad lot. I am one of them, as a matter-of-fact, and I know I’m pretty damn good! I’m trustworthy, pay my bills, clean up after myself and am fairly good-looking to boot, dirty mouth notwithstanding. But beyond my own limitations, most fiction writers, especially those of us who create and then kill off people, seem to be the kind of people who you don’t mind having live next door. We do have our idiosyncrasies, as do all human beings, but as a group we are the good guys. And gals. And whatever else you want to call yourself. (I don’t live in California; I live in Chicago Metro area, a somewhat more rough-and-tumble neighborhood. Excuse my lack of manners.)
Make Good Fiction
So, when you, my fellow fiction authors, go to your keyboards or papers to write, I say, Tell a good story, a plausible lie, a ‘possible’ world, an alternate history or desirable future. Tell it in a way that your readers can trust you to take them all the way into the story, through the story and back again at the end of the story with an experience worth having. Make it truly believable, even if it’s a “lie”. It has been well said that a story, especially a story about us humans, doesn’t have to be ‘factual’ to be true. I would add, or worth experiencing.