The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – Past or Fiction?


The older I get the better I was.

…the next time you tell that story it will be TEN…

I’m sure you’ve experienced it.  You may be the perpetrator or just a witness, but we’ve all done it or seen it.

I’m talking about fictionalizing the past.  Sensationalizing real life.

I can’t count how many stories I’ve heard that include me as a major or supporting character that include events, details, or motivations that I don’t seem to recall from the real-life historical event.  Interestingly, somehow, these details tend to make the story more interesting- funnier or more entertaining, significant, or serendipitous.

I admit I’ve been the storyteller in a fair share of these instances.  Usually it happens when I start a story with a ton of gusto before realizing it lacks an actual point, yet, for some reason, my audience is engaged and expectant.  At this point, my right brain takes over and tells a story instead of the recollection of facts or events that had been taking place.

Then there are the people who do this so often I wonder what the world is like where they live.  A land of pure fiction where truth is less significant than feeling.  Is this what politics and media careers are like?

I once had a neighbor who told me a great story about how he bargained with the pet store to get a $350 discount on a dog he and his wife had just purchased.  The only dissatisfying detail of the story was that I had actually already met his dog the day before when his wife had purchased him as a surprise for her husband.

Harmless, right?

Sure.  Maybe.  This time.

As a blog about writing and about the power of words, I feel it is time we discuss the importance of the accuracy of our words.  When is storytelling about the facts rather than the story?

If it is okay to fictionalize our own past?  What about the history of the world?

Do you change the details to fit your own purpose when story telling in company?  Is this an okay habit or a microcosm of a dangerous path?  Or is it in our nature?

About Jamaal

Lover of words, liver of life, director of theatre, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Twitter: @JamaalAllan

2 comments on “QOTD – Past or Fiction?

  1. Cassidee M
    October 21, 2013

    I believe that the fictionalization of events is not good, no matter how small the lie. One example is if someone went to a party and was very unlucky with the ladies and they wouldn’t want to admit it so they say that they “got lucky” with a girl who did nothing. Suddenly, because of this little lie, this woman’s reputation could be ruined along with friendships and/or relationships. That’s how lies are, they start small and keep snowballing until they grow out of control. Also, everyone knows that one person that always takes their lie too far (like “oh yeah I made out with that band member” or “I have a shark at home”) and I don’t know about you, but when they do that I find it difficult not say “pics or it didn’t happen” and they never have the picture. So, not only can fictionalizing ruin reputations and relationships, it can also make you very unpopular.

  2. Troy
    October 23, 2013

    Fictionise your own past? No, I don’t like that at all. That would make you a
    Liar, nobody likes liars. Liars are not respected at all

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2013 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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