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Del
06-06-2007, 06:00 AM
If you have a lot of real experiences from different times and places and you roll them all into a single story around a fictitious character that represents something of each of the real people is it fiction or nonfiction?

I don't think any true story is completely true but since everything actually happened and none of the facts are fabricated can I submit it to a nonfiction publication? How do I say this didn't really happen but everything really did?

gerrydodge
06-06-2007, 06:05 AM
In my opinion all fictional characters are real. They are born out of imagination just as our view of all people is a subjective determination about who they are. Ted Bundy was someone entirely different to the people who knew him than who he really was. The only people who really knew him were his victims.

Siddow
06-06-2007, 06:05 AM
...roll them all into a single story around a fictitious character ...

It would be fiction.

TB4me2000
06-06-2007, 07:23 AM
I love the difference between the two answers:tongue

justpat
06-06-2007, 07:48 AM
Fiction, inspired by true events or persons. But I'd still call it fiction.

jenfreedom
06-06-2007, 09:43 AM
Fiction, inspired by true events or persons. But I'd still call it fiction.

Ditto that.

~ Jennifer

Stijn Hommes
06-06-2007, 12:35 PM
Yes, as soon as you drop in a fictional character, the thing is fiction. For it to become non-fiction, you need to cut every bit of fiction out.

Puma
06-06-2007, 02:12 PM
Hi Delarege - One of my novels is all real characters (except for five very bit players), almost all events that actually happened (except for common things like going hunting and cooking meals) - it's fiction - because, I don't know exactly what happened or exactly what was said. I have very brief written accounts to base my story on but it's not enough to move it over into non-fiction. Puma

Del
06-06-2007, 06:55 PM
They bill Perfect Storm as a true story but it (like mine) is several people's stories told as one. I guess you can do it if you have real characters. I just can't put six drunk drivers behind the wheel in a three car crash...nor do I have it in me to portray the real people in such a negative light.

I feel fiction cannot deliver a lesson because, in the minds of the readers, no one suffers the consequences. It is just entertainment. That isn't why I wrote it.

I guess it will just get dusty.

Jamesaritchie
06-06-2007, 08:18 PM
They bill Perfect Storm as a true story but it (like mine) is several people's stories told as one. I guess you can do it if you have real characters. I just can't put six drunk drivers behind the wheel in a three car crash...nor do I have it in me to portray the real people in such a negative light.

I feel fiction cannot deliver a lesson because, in the minds of the readers, no one suffers the consequences. It is just entertainment. That isn't why I wrote it.

I guess it will just get dusty.

It's fiction. And where have you been? Fiction is far better at delivering lessons than nonfiction. Always has been. It's what fiction is famous for doing. If you think fiction is only for entertainment purposes, you haven't read much fiction.

As for Perfect Storm, no, they don't bill it as a true story. They bill it as based on a true story, which means it's fiction, as well.

larocca
06-06-2007, 08:36 PM
Add me to the consensus. Fiction.

Oh, what's the Stephen King quote? Something about how fiction shows us truth by telling us lies about people who never existed.

And then, in his case, turning the monsters loose. Aaaggghhh!!:eek:

jenfreedom
06-06-2007, 09:46 PM
They bill Perfect Storm as a true story but it (like mine) is several people's stories told as one. I guess you can do it if you have real characters. I just can't put six drunk drivers behind the wheel in a three car crash...nor do I have it in me to portray the real people in such a negative light.

I feel fiction cannot deliver a lesson because, in the minds of the readers, no one suffers the consequences. It is just entertainment. That isn't why I wrote it.

I guess it will just get dusty.

NOT TRUE! I often feel like I learn new things things after reading (well-written) fiction or non-fiction. Fiction usually has elements of non-fiction which can spur someone on to become interested in a new topic. Plus how writing makes you feel is more important than a lesson learned IMO, that's part of why I read so much. I like how I feel after reading a well done piece. Even if I consider it entertainment.

I wish I could think of a book offhand to illustrate this but actually (this will sound dorky) but the first thing that came to mind was Buffy -- it's TV yeah, but it's also (obviously not real) yet the lessons fly on that old show.

Now I've outed myself as a total geek. Uh oh.

~ Jennifer

Puma
06-07-2007, 02:10 PM
Hi Delarege - I'm still puzzling on your math - six drunk drivers behind the wheels in a three car crash (sorry couldn't help myself).

I agree fiction can carry just as important lessons as non-fiction. As an example (and this is a pretty poor one) years ago I read one of the first James Patterson murder stories that came out. Compare the impact of it (and the naievety or stupidity of the victim that made her the victim) with the impact of a story like The Son of Sam or any of the mass murderer stories. With Patterson's stories there's more an idea the victim could be anyone - in the mass murder stories there's more a concept the murderer was a freak and situations like this aren't likely to happen very often. From that standpoint, I think the fiction is carrying a bigger impact (and unless I'm mistaken is more widely read).

I'll throw another thought out here. I can't remember what TV series back in the 50's/60's it was, but one of them always started with "This is a true story, names have been changed to protect the innocent". You could try that idea. It would still probably be classified as fiction but you would have identified it as true rather than something you created. Puma

Del
06-08-2007, 01:54 AM
...rather than something you created. Puma



I guess this is the nail to hit on the head. It wasn't created. It is a pain I carry with me and I want it considered seriously. I caused none of it and still I lay awake with the visions of dead bloody children and dismembered bodies in my head because someone else felt it was ok to drive drunk. Not just once but again and again. My depression and guilt -- I don't know why the guilt -- have lessened my quality of life.



I relive these crashes nearly everyday. I actually jump from the couch when a movie suddenly throws in a collision, which is quite often. And then there are the dreams...



I used to drink. I know the signs, the testing, the denials. They are so easy to spot and any one of them should be enough of a clue to hand the keys to someone else.



Today, thousands of people will choose to drive when they shouldn't and hundreds of people will begin experiences similar to mine. By the end of this year more than 16,000 people will be dead from alcohol related crashes. Odds are that half the people reading this post have either known one in the passed ten years or will know one in the next ten. There is always someone left. I imagine a good many of us who lived through it wish we were the ones that had died.


I expect many that are in the same boat as me will relate to the story but is it even possible to affect any of those that will one day cause the grief and make them think before they insert that key?


I suppose in the end it all comes down to my writing ability. If I can't figure out how to say these things really happened it will just feel as insignificant as those unknown victims that the camera briefly passes over and are forgotten when the movie goes on.

Thanks to all for the replies. And I will continue to work on it.

Puma
06-08-2007, 03:37 AM
Hi Delarege - Why do you feel guilty for something someone else caused? (And I know this is none of my business and I'm not actually asking you to provide answers on an open forum.) It's easy to see you're carrying a lot of pain from what happened, but why. Was there something you could have done to prevent what happened - if so, that may be a major part of your story.

I think sometimes there can be good results from knowledge someone was killed by a drunk driver. You may or may not remember the 1973 movie (and book) American Grafitti in which one of the major characters was John Milner who had a souped up deuce coupe. At the end of the movie in the credits (and in the book) it told what happened to each one of the major characters. Milner was killed by a drunk driver. It was really shaking to see that roll down the screen because Milner was such a likeable guy.

Think about doing the story in two ways - one as a memoir (yours) describing the pains (memoirs are considered non-fiction and I think you could change names to avoid complications) and one as a fictional presentation of the same material. From your prior post it's very apparent you have a lot of good information to pass on. You can put it all together. Good luck! Puma