One Writer’s Journey

November 8, 2018

Unreliable Narrators

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:52 am
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Yesterday I read a Writer’s Digest post about two truths and a lie. My own post has nothing to do with it but it is what led to my own post here.

When many of us write, we stick to the straight and narrow.  Our protagonists are honest and always tell the truth.  Unless they are talking to the antagonist.  Then, they might lie.  Maybe.  Our antagonists?  They lie like rugs.  After all, we reason, that’s what bad people do.

Strictly speaking, we all say something that isn’t true each and every day.  Sometimes its a lie.  Other times?  We’re just wrong.

And really good books mirror this.  I just finished reading The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor.

Hmm.  I’m thinking the rest of this post is probably a plot spoiler but you’ve been warned.

Before the story begin, a neighborhood boy dies when he falls from Mason’s tree fort.  The boy just happens to be Mason’s best friend.  This happened just over a year ago.  Mason’s learning disabilities make it hard for him to tell his story to the police.  He tries but the Lieutenant keeps interrupting.

The Lieutenant believes that he knows what happened.  This Truth that he has in his head, skews the investigation.

Mason tells the Lieutenant all that he remembers but he leaves out something that happened earlier in the day.  Without the experience of an adult, he doesn’t understand the importance of part of his story.  Not a lie, but a misunderstanding. Even the characters who lied end up being sympathetic.

Misunderstandings.  Assumptions.  Miscommunication.  All of these things can make your story both more real but also more interesting as your character works to unravel the misinformation to get to the truth.



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