The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth! (part 2)
BY Stu Leventhal
Journalism, non-fiction, biography, historic documentaries; for all of these, telling engaging true tales starts with the integrity of the author. A nonfiction author must build his platform on honesty and trust. Tell the truth first and foremost, that is what your readers expect and deserve. Get caught embellishing and you can flush even the most established nonfiction career down the toilet.
The craft of structuring a true story so it is entertaining can be taught. There are many proven, tried and true ways to present a true topic but remember new innovative authors are always showing us that the methods of telling a story in print are as diverse as all the varied delivering styles of standup comedians or religious sermon givers or singing styles.
THE TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION
The popular saying, ‘The Truth is Stranger than Fiction’ has proven itself time and time again. How? Why? While fiction writers are given a huge liberty to make up virtually whatever worlds, scenes and characters as they wish the trick to being successful lies in a fiction author’s ability to make the imaginary tale seem plausible. Super Man may fly and that may be totally impossible in real life but throughout the rest of the story the characters act, talk, react as we have come to expect people to carry and conduct themselves in real life.
Non-fiction; news, memoirs, exposés, history pieces are generally interesting to us because they expose something unexpected. There is no reason to tell a true tale if all the action is predictable and has been told a thousand times before. Thus Non-fiction’s success relies on exposing something unique, unusual and unknown. Nonfiction’s charm lies in the fact that it is all true!
All advances in education rely on writers of truth. Man’s growth and development relies on nonfiction. We must know what went on in the past to pave the way for the future. Non-fiction is man’s story and the tale of man’s quest.
Just like people have different styles of telling a verbal story, there are no wrong ways of telling a written nonfiction tale. The only criteria are that the facts are considered to be true by the author. Of course as with any other craft, some authors are more entertaining or more informative or better at conveying their message than other authors.
Styles of true story telling vary considerably and thus the impact of two true tales written about the same subject can vary considerably. Yet, both these tales, written from different viewpoints can still be considered true and both categorized as nonfiction even though their messages contradict each other.
Writing about observed fact, deciphering and verifying accepted chronicled data as well as confirming and challenging universally perceived theories can be quite challenging. Any policeman who has had the pleasure of recording 5 or 6 very different eye witness accounts of the same crime will contest to the problem of people perceiving things uniquely. Thus there can be many different nonfictional accounts of the very same incident or occurrence. Obviously they all cannot be true but they all can be classified as nonfiction! The requirement for nonfiction classification is that the author believed he or she was documenting the truth at the time of the writing. So, if ten years later, new evidence turns up dispelling a nonfiction work, it remains classified as nonfiction. But any new writing about the same subject must take into account the new evidence in order not to be deemed fiction!
Telling true nonfiction tales with integrity and applied high ethics is truly one of the most important undertakings a man or woman can undertake. In modern days with all our modern distractions, writing quality nonfiction is still just as admirable an undertaking as any ancient monk painstakingly slaving all day and night under candle light to transcribe history for the benefit of all future generations. A NEW TALE salutes all nonfiction authors as well as all fellow creative writers, writing students and scribe want-a -bees for undertaking the noblest craft of mankind.
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