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butterfly
11-14-2015, 06:40 PM
Wondering about this lately. Some don't watch the news because of all the bad, sad things that are reported. Some read fiction to escape reality. Some keep stuffed animals as pets and treat vinyl baby dolls like real babies. Disney romanticizes fairy tales and Pixar attempts to tell a fairy tale within a cute story. (I love Disney and Pixar movies, btw)

Essays, editorials, debates, even forums sometimes, reveal the truth about how people feel and even then there are some that can't handle it, or back out.

So my question is, when you write, what is your truth? Do you tell all or keep some hidden? As a reader, how do you feel about hearing truth?

Further, what does "truth" actually mean, mathematical and scientific terms aside?

Kylabelle
11-14-2015, 07:06 PM
So my question is, when you write, what is your truth? Do you tell all or keep some hidden? As a reader, how do you feel about hearing truth?

Good questions! I believe writing trumps truth, in an important way, though I also believe that in order to be good writing it must be honest. Details of factual scenarios are always on the table for change if by altering them the quality of the writing can be made to convey its import more effectively. This same dynamic also guides my receptivity when reading. I do attempt to stay aware of even the ugliest of world events, for instance, but I don't feel I need to grind myself into details that will pull me down too far to function effectively (which can happen and is why some people don't go there at all.)

It's a very individual matter, how much one is able to take in.

As for your final question, whenever I encounter someone asking "what is truth?" I can't help but remember being laughed into silence as a teenager when I raised that question in a supposedly liberal youth group discussion. So, hey, good for you!

buz
11-14-2015, 07:44 PM
Wondering about this lately. Some don't watch the news because of all the bad, sad things that are reported. Some read fiction to escape reality. Some keep stuffed animals as pets and treat vinyl baby dolls like real babies. Disney romanticizes fairy tales and Pixar attempts to tell a fairy tale within a cute story. (I love Disney and Pixar movies, btw)

Essays, editorials, debates, even forums sometimes, reveal the truth about how people feel and even then there are some that can't handle it, or back out.

So my question is, when you write, what is your truth? Do you tell all or keep some hidden? As a reader, how do you feel about hearing truth?

Further, what does "truth" actually mean, mathematical and scientific terms aside?

'S complicated...

There are different kinds of truths. Small, medium-sized, large. All-encompassing and minute, observable, not observable, somewhat provable, not provable, fuzzy and sharp. "I swept the floor yesterday" and "That is a blue heron" to "There is/is not an afterlife" to "I think I don't love you." Few are objective and observable, more might be objective but are hard or impossible to see from where we are, but there is some objective truth. I do think there's more subjective truth, and/or truth that we can't see or remember clearly, or truth that we think is true enough to navigate our worlds but we can't rely entirely on our memories because they are faulty and we can't rely entirely on our perceptions because they are limited and we can't rely entirely on our emotions because they're emotions. And truth can evolve as we come to understand new things.

But we do what we can to piece together our realities. If we think we're doing it as honestly, maybe even informedly (word?) as possible, I suppose that's our truth. Which might differ from other people's. I don't know. And I'm probably forgetting aspects that further complicate the issue because my own thought processes are limited. :)

The point is it's hard for me to generalize about hearing truth or writing or reading it because I'm not sure what it is. Even in my own little world, let alone the bigger things.

As for reading and writing...I don't know. Frankly I don't understand when people say "write true" or "write the truth" but I assume that's a failing of my understanding...

I want a good story, whether it reminds me of reality or flings me far away from it. I don't know if you mean reality as the same or close to Truth though. In some ways a Pixar movie might deliver as much or more truth than the news, depending on which truths you're looking for. ;)

Did you have something specific in mind?

Polenth
11-14-2015, 08:38 PM
The world doesn't consist of only the worst of the worst things. A cute cat video isn't any more untruthful than a news report about a disaster. People often believe the latter is a more honest representation of the world, but the world also consists of a lot of good things that'll never hit the news.

Generally, I prefer to read about terrible things in non-fiction. This isn't something I read for fun, so all I want is the basic facts. In fiction, it can touch on serious subjects, but I'm not interested in unrelentingly terrible stuff happening endlessly. I read fiction for entertainment. But there will always be readers who like that stuff, if that's what you'd like to write. Grimdark is very popular. Just not with me.

buz
11-14-2015, 08:46 PM
The world doesn't consist of only the worst of the worst things. A cute cat video isn't any more untruthful than a news report about a disaster. People often believe the latter is a more honest representation of the world, but the world also consists of a lot of good things that'll never hit the news.


This, too.

Truth has many dimensions. :)

RedWombat
11-14-2015, 09:21 PM
Part of the trick, I've always thought, is to tell the reader a thing they believe is true, but in a way they didn't expect. The great humorists seem to be the ones, like Twain and Pratchett, who can do this and make it funny.

Victor Douglas
11-14-2015, 09:41 PM
The truth I try to write is that the heroes and the villains are just like one another, except for one small change, which seems to make all the difference.

Ravioli
11-14-2015, 09:57 PM
As a writer: I will be blunt and I won't give a fuck that it might bunch knickers if it's for the sake of educating against perpetuated evil, except in 2 scenarios: being too blunt getting me banned from a platform I wish to continue using, and b) losing friends I don't wanna lose. But in that case, I'll just try to convey the same message, just less bluntly.

As a reader: have at me. Just don't get personal and make sure your truth is backed by facts, not opinions.

kuwisdelu
11-14-2015, 10:01 PM
The best fiction tells the truth better than non-fiction ever could.

blacbird
11-14-2015, 10:02 PM
To append to what kuwidelu just said, remember that "truth" and "fact" are not synonyms.

caw

Ravioli
11-14-2015, 10:20 PM
To append to what kuwidelu just said, remember that "truth" and "fact" are not synonyms.

caw
No, but it's still not true that I smacked you with a trout.

Once!
11-14-2015, 10:51 PM
When many people watch the news or read a newspaper, they aren't looking for new truths. They might think that they are, or say that they are, but often they are looking for confirmation of things that they already believe in. That's how conspiracy theories work. We develop a theory that we want to be true, then we look for evidence that supports that theory. We consciously or subconsciously ignore evidence which doesn't fit in with the version of the truth that we believe in.

The people who run the media know this, so they feed us stories which play into the truths we want to hear. In the UK we have one newspaper which loves to run stories about "there's bad weather on the way". (Daily Express). Another that tells scandal stories about celebs behaving badly, corrupt officialdom and nasty immigrants (The Daily Mail). And so on. These newspapers aren't telling the whole truth. They are telling a version of the truth that their readers want to hear.

We can see it in almost every thread in P&CE. Every story is slanted towards a pre-conceived "truth" - nasty big organisations, bullying police, racism, sexism. We rarely get to see both sides of the story, because balanced news (on the one hand, on the other hand) does not sell as well as bad news. Every incident triggers a predictable response as people react according to the things they already believe in.

I'd like to think that we writers are giving out the genuine truth, but I don't think that we are. In many cases we are giving our own opinions, which either chimes with our readers or doesn't.

Ken
11-15-2015, 02:36 AM
Profoundness is fine. And I praise those who are able to do so and enlighten the public.

As to me, all I am basically seeking to do is entertain peeps. I've never been a rocket scientist or such sort. So when I slap something together I have no other ambition than to entertain reader(s).

And I believe that is okay or at least I hope so. You have to work with what you have.

Oddly, when it comes to reading I like profoundness even though I do not grasp a lot of it. Often, though, I just read for pleasure and the books needn't have much to do with worldly goings on, etc. Ones with dragons, knights, and princesses are among my favorite !

Shameful to be sure.

Brightdreamer
11-15-2015, 02:56 AM
"I swept the floor yesterday" and "That is a blue heron" to "There is/is not an afterlife" to "I think I don't love you."

I sighed, sweeping the floor with a blue heron. "Dear, now that I'm dead, I just don't think I love you anymore."


Profoundness is fine. And I praise those who are able to do so and enlighten the public.

As to me, all I am basically seeking to do is entertain peeps. I've never been a rocket scientist or such sort. So when I slap something together I have no other ambition than to entertain reader(s).

+1

As a confused, sheltered, and generally undereducated moron, I don't feel qualified to identify Truth, let alone pontificate on it to the masses. I write about stuff like dragons and magic and hope someone else finds them amusing. Look elsewhere for your truths; all I got is a few good* fantasies.

(* - Well, I like them, at least...)

buz
11-15-2015, 03:17 AM
I sighed, sweeping the floor with a blue heron. "Dear, now that I'm dead, I just don't think I love you anymore."



Sounds like a mighty fine beginning to me. :D

frimble3
11-15-2015, 04:21 AM
From Margaret Atwood's poem 'True Stories':
"The true story is vicious
and multiple. and untrue
after all."

Hapax Legomenon
11-15-2015, 04:40 AM
I only write true things. The fact that most people look at them and say "how bizarre! How do you come up with these things!" just convinces me that I didn't get tickets to the same show that they did.

Emermouse
11-15-2015, 04:42 AM
Experience has taught me that in real life, not so much. But sometimes you can sneak the truth by them by wrapping it in a story.

Roxxsmom
11-15-2015, 07:38 AM
I write fantasy, a genre where writers are expected to create new worlds that don't have to operate by the same rules ours does. Except readers vary in how much of a departure from the familiar and expected they want, even in speculative fiction. I have a friend who is a brilliant writer, but his stories are sometimes outside of my comfort zone in terms of setting. It's not so much that they make it hard to suspend disbelief, it's just I have trouble relating to the people and their goals and problems. And sometimes it's based on the mood I'm in too.

But one thing people forget is that people who write stories set in the so-called real, contemporary world are still world building. They're presenting a version of reality that resonates with them and with certain readers more than others.

And I'm not referring specifically to the values of the protagonist, which can differ from that of the author, or even to an overarching message the author is deliberately trying to send. Rather, I'm talking about the assumptions about how the world, and people, work that will percolate into someone's work, no matter where and when it's set.

Even peripheral scenes and subplots, things that are not intended to send a huge message, can be influenced by the writers unexamined assumptions (or perhaps on their own thought out and researched understanding of something).

The fact is, if your unexamined assumptions and more carefully thought-out truths don't mesh with those of your reader, you may lose them. Or you may give them some food for thought. Or it may go completely over their head. Some of it's going to depend on what they're looking for too. Sometimes I want a story that makes me a bit uncomfortable, sometimes I don't.

kuwisdelu
11-15-2015, 11:30 PM
I write fantasy, a genre where writers are expected to create new worlds that don't have to operate by the same rules ours does. Except readers vary in how much of a departure from the familiar and expected they want, even in speculative fiction. I have a friend who is a brilliant writer, but his stories are sometimes outside of my comfort zone in terms of setting. It's not so much that they make it hard to suspend disbelief, it's just I have trouble relating to the people and their goals and problems. And sometimes it's based on the mood I'm in too.

In my fiction, the fantastical parts are the most true.

They say the truth is stranger than fiction.

I say we need to write stranger fiction.

rwhegwood
11-16-2015, 02:36 AM
Truth is dangerous, and many if not most cannot handle it directly. It cannot be told; it must be discovered. That's why truth is so often presented to us in a parable, or via metaphor.

We also can be mistaken, enshrining a falsehood or misrepresentation as "the truth", and when contradicted (as we can see in the news over the past few days) we get angry, label and dismiss, turn to jello in our safe place while hurling burning tar at the one or ones who dared to violate the sanctity of our world view and its assumptions. Anything but listen, as a rule.

Truth is an onion. It has layers, and in the right circumstances can bring you to tears.

Today, the innate wrongness and hatefulness of various isms (some old, some new, some still entangled the caul of their birthing) in some circles is considered manifest truth...so true, it's truer than true, and no dissent or other opinion can be broached. Load the label gun, click, peal, place, and dismiss...the labeled ones have no truth, speak only lies, and may not be entirely human. But then you encounter truth in a person...as a person, and it gets more complicated.

In my youth I knew an old man who belonged to an old conservative denomination in the South. He used the "n" word without a second thought. Named his little black dog, "N" boy. He would teach his grandchildren that when speaking of black folks in more polite terms, it was preferred to say "nigra" rather than the "n" world.

By today's standards he would would be deemed some sort of irredeemable hate spewing racist who probably beat his wife on the sly, and who had the scandalous effrontery to vote for non liberal democrats at election time. He would have been dismissed without a second thought to who he was, or what he for...just another white religious bigot no one has to pay the slightest attention to...and if they do, then they are racist too.

Yet, in his person he was more complex than a label. In 1968 during all the unrest associated with the civil rights movement, that year. One Sunday, two or three black families sought to join the all white church to which he belonged. They walked the aisle and asked to be received in fellowship. It caused an uproar (discreet of course). The men of the church gathered in emergency session to assess the matter and to make a recommendation. There were four very prominent men in that church who opposed letting them join. Yet that n world using old man spoke up for them. He said if they were there simply to agitate and protest in order to provoke a reaction for the news, then welcoming them would defuse that situation and in few weeks they would lose interest and go away. If, however they were sincere, and they were Christians who believed as that church believed then their church had no right to refuse them, whom Christ had accepted. The vote was taken, the recommendation for acceptance was made, the congregation ratified it, and they were all welcomed as new members. After a couple of weeks, they never came again. As for the four men who voted against admission, they all died of cancer within 4 years, and the old man who swung the vote lived nearly another 15 years.

The truth embodied by that old man...the full complexity of his life and character confound the stuffers of today's social bento boxes. He is a dangerous sort of truth, one that can no longer be safely acknowledged much less welcomed face to face in the public square.

Where there is no room for truth, no heart for it, where there is room for only one face in the mirror, we must content ourselves with stories and parables, hoping perhaps that they might serve to enlighten the inner eyes of another, and soberly, cautiously searching out those stories that might serve to enlighten our own.

Helix
11-16-2015, 03:09 AM
In my youth I knew an old man who belonged to an old conservative denomination in the South. He used the "n" word without a second thought. Named his little black dog, "N" boy. He would teach his grandchildren that when speaking of black folks in more polite terms, it was preferred to say "nigra" rather than the "n" world.

By today's standards he would would be deemed some sort of irredeemable hate spewing racist who probably beat his wife on the sly, and who had the scandalous effrontery to vote for non liberal democrats at election time. He would have been dismissed without a second thought to who he was, or what he for...just another white religious bigot no one has to pay the slightest attention to...and if they do, then they are racist too.

Those strawmen make a mess, don't they?

*brushes straw from the monitor*

buz
11-16-2015, 03:17 AM
Those strawmen make a mess, don't they?

*brushes straw from the monitor*

Poor things get traveler's diarrhea so easily

kuwisdelu
11-16-2015, 03:52 AM
Huh?

Okay I'll bite.

What's a racist with a heart of gold have to do with truth?

Seems more like a cliche.

Raventongue
11-16-2015, 04:14 AM
I'm at a point in my life where I no longer give an honest shit what people want to hear. As long as I can find a way to keep them reading, I will MAKE them hear me, want to or not. And it's gonna be truth, maybe not THE truth or even MY truth but something utterly devoid of deceit and worth going to all the trouble for.

MakanJuu
11-16-2015, 04:31 AM
I guess the point was the man was more complex than first thought, but the question remains as to what his motivation was.

Anyway, as for 'writing the truth,' it's just letting your true self, your morals, personality, experiences & beliefs bleed into your work. I have to say that I do, but my quote-unquote truth is really just complexity without labels. Just sit back & watch the characters & situations unfold naturally. It doesn't mean a lot of my own beliefs aren't in there, but I don't have the energy to shove them down people's throats, argue, or prove much of anything. And knowing people, the vast majority of things in my current series ought to earn me attacks from some people, somewhere at some point.

Honestly, though, if those people are unable to tell the difference, or get the correct message from between the lines, I'm not going to argue, fight back or help. After everything I've been through-especially from these types of situations- it's not worth it.

Samsonet
11-16-2015, 04:37 AM
I'm all for making cardboard characters more three-dimensional. Or maybe I should say that I'm for three-dimensional characters who've internalized some of the toxic stuff that's all around them?

It's easy to dismiss a stereotype as... er, well, a stereotype. A lie. A picture of the worst parts of somebody else. I know tumblr isn't the most respected website, but there's a quote that I think explains what I mean:


lurknomoar:

The lesson taught about discrimination shouldn't be "only evil people do it", because then all readers will assume it doesn't apply to them. Instead old JK teaches us "you too are probably doing it, and you should stop ASAP".

KellyAssauer
11-16-2015, 06:18 AM
An eyewitness stands on all four corners of the intersection.
Each one describes the accident differently.
None of them are lying.

Truth means what it means to you.
It's all about perspective.

for example:



... and treat vinyl baby dolls like real babies.

*taps foot*

*waits for apology*

See?

Jamesaritchie
11-16-2015, 12:18 PM
Wondering about this lately. Some don't watch the news because of all the bad, sad things that are reported. Some read fiction to escape reality. Some keep stuffed animals as pets and treat vinyl baby dolls like real babies. Disney romanticizes fairy tales and Pixar attempts to tell a fairy tale within a cute story. (I love Disney and Pixar movies, btw)

Essays, editorials, debates, even forums sometimes, reveal the truth about how people feel and even then there are some that can't handle it, or back out.

So my question is, when you write, what is your truth? Do you tell all or keep some hidden? As a reader, how do you feel about hearing truth?

Further, what does "truth" actually mean, mathematical and scientific terms aside?

First, I don't even know what this means, or how you came to the conclusion you do. There is no way you could know this about other people. Essays, editorials, debates, even forums sometimes, reveal the truth about how people feel and even then there are some that can't handle it, or back out.

Not everyone wants to hear the truth, which is fine because damned few know it, and present opinion as truth, or facts as truth. Nor do I know what you mean by "What is your truth"?

If you have to ask what truth is, you don't understand the question you're asking.

At any rate, writing is all about truth. If there is no truth, the writing is just expensive toilet paper. But as I said, truth is not opinion, and story after story, article after article, is nothing but bloated opinion, accusations, charges, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Good writing simply shows what is, holds up a mirror, makes no accusations, no charges. It says this does this, they do that, this is what it's like, now what do you think about it?

Tottie Scone
11-20-2015, 12:29 PM
But one thing people forget is that people who write stories set in the so-called real, contemporary world are still world building. They're presenting a version of reality that resonates with them and with certain readers more than others.

Absolutely. CS Lewis wrote about this, about how people criticised his fantasy for being unrealistic, but he felt that the boarding school stories that were popular at the time were much more so, as they claimed to be set in the real world but presented an image of boarding school life that was totally at odds with reality.

He himself wrote about that reality in his autobiography in terms that would make your hair curl. The reality of his experience could not be presented in a children's book, even now.

noirdood
12-26-2015, 10:40 PM
Whose truths do you want to hear? Most people want the facts to be bent in their direction and to them that is the truth.
The Russians have a folk saying "he lies like an eyewitness."

quicklime
12-29-2015, 02:54 AM
Wondering about this lately. Some don't watch the news because of all the bad, sad things that are reported. Some read fiction to escape reality. Some keep stuffed animals as pets and treat vinyl baby dolls like real babies. Disney romanticizes fairy tales and Pixar attempts to tell a fairy tale within a cute story. (I love Disney and Pixar movies, btw)

Essays, editorials, debates, even forums sometimes, reveal the truth about how people feel and even then there are some that can't handle it, or back out.

So my question is, when you write, what is your truth? Do you tell all or keep some hidden? As a reader, how do you feel about hearing truth?

Further, what does "truth" actually mean, mathematical and scientific terms aside?

honestly, "MY" truth is immaterial. The MC's truths come out, and if I have a chapter or six in the POV of the antagonist, a secondary protagonist, or even a dog (Man, sniffing an ass was important, on first meeting an interloper...) then THEIR truth comes through, but I write to character, not audience. Granted you can lose folks that way, but I'd rather chance an honest character than run them through some PC "neuter-mill"--the reader should be able to grasp right and wrong, and recognize reason and abhorrent behavior, without my telling them how. Granted this also takes some risk, but done properly, I believe it is far better than trying to soap-box......if you did your job right, you shouldn't have to come out and "tell" the reader anything.....

LindaJeanne
01-03-2016, 07:52 PM
I have a tendency to get completely overwhelmed to the point that I just sort of shut down and block out the world outside of my head. In addition to combating this by more direct means, I also avoid contributing to the overload unnecessarily. As such, I don't follow the news, since there's nothing I can do about it. I heard about the new Star Wars movie from my dad. I forget how news about ISIS filtered down to me, but it wasn't via a news story per se, but rather via asides other places. I grew up in Vermont, so hearing about Bernie Sanders all my life, but I only gradually realized that constantly seeing bumper-stickers and hearing him mentioned HERE was something new. Oh, wait, he's a national political figure now? Running for president? When did that happen?

So, it wouldn't be unfair to accuse me of being the sort of person who doesn't want to hear "the truth".

But what is truth? I'm more interested in truth of the human spirit -- about how we can be better people, and improve as a society. And scientific truth -- there are amazing discoveries being made. And, as per many of us here (as well as the quote in my sig), the truth of fiction -- which I think hits on something deeper than simple surface truth.

I also have a layman's interest in the philosophy of "what is truth", such as how the debate between evolution and creationism isn't a scientific debate (the science is pretty darn clear) but rather a debate about epistemology: which is "more true", empirical truth, or biblical truth? Most of the debates fail to take this into account, and argue based on facts, and therefore talk through each other. The facts only matter when the debating parties agree on what makes a "fact" true or not true. I'm interested in how this vast differences in the concept of what "truth" means play out in our society (and in other, past, and future societies).

I apologize for the rambling answer, but the question kind of invited it :)

Sagml John
01-05-2016, 10:39 PM
Truth is subjective and is best conveyed with a British accent and while smoking a pipe.

cmi0616
01-12-2016, 12:02 AM
Further, what does "truth" actually mean, mathematical and scientific terms aside?

Shit if I know, but if anyone figures it out, be sure to get the message out to every major philosopher from, y'know, ever.

KTC
01-12-2016, 12:13 AM
I have definitely had broken relations after having memoir published, or recorded for CBC Radio. I told a truth about my grandmother and my brother and he has hardly uttered a word to me since. That was in 2003. The thing is, it was published in the national newspaper and it painted him in a harsh light. I have had memoir published that has painted ME in a harsh light and had the same reaction...some did not like me sharing ugly truths about myself. I had some pretty harsh criticism from family members about it.

The thing is you either care or you don't. I write what I want to write when I want to write it. That's for non-fiction, memoir, etc.

For fiction...I give the reader what they need to know when they need to know it. I try to write someone's truth...just not mine.