Craft vs. Integrity Writing “Real” Fiction


I’ve been working for admittedly, a very long time on writing a story based on actual events- which also happens to be fiction.

You would think writing fiction that is based on actual events is simple – you know the story!! You just write it in an interesting waimagesy – YOU HAVE THE PLOT!

I’ve found it to be excruciating. If you are writing a complete work of fiction, you can change the characters, you can change the outcome, you can change merely anything and everything about the story to make it “work” in the mainstream reading world.

With writing a piece of fiction that is based on true events, I feel the need to keep as much of the story/characters/tone/plot intact to maintain the integrity of the story itself. Not to mention, the weight of writing it to its perfection can be crippling. Every sentence has to be meaningful and well placed. I’ve got one shot to get it right. Once you send your baby out to the world, it no longer belongs to you. I’m not on a deadline- it’s personal.

I’ve gone back and forth a handful of times with POV. Who would the story mean the most coming from when its had an impact on so many? I tend to think that first person creates more of a trust between the writer and reader, but I need to get in the heads of many of the characters, so there’s another dilemma.

Omissions – I’ve chosen to omit some events that would surely hurt (myself and others). I’ve read conflicting advice on the topic “If they didn’t want you to write bad things about them, they shouldn’t have done bad things- you own your story” vs. “The only words you will regret are the ones that hurt someone you care about”. For the most part, I’m covered by the “This book is a work of fiction. Any reference to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictionally. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any other resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.” But what would the gain be to include certain events? What would the cost be? How much to omit before you lose some of the intentions and actions of the characters? The why?

Conversely, how much can I ADD to the story? Any reader knows, fiction has form. Reality, not so much. I have to finagle things a bit to shape everything into a nice pretty package with the satin bow. Building tension and plot twists, as well as my entire ending (for art and closure sake), is pure fiction. I’m still a little uncomfortable with that. There are times, I write something in that I feel moves the story forward, or adds depth to a character, but feel it is disingenuous to the story- and then cut.

Anyone else out here in the blogosphere published a piece of fiction based on true events? Advice?


Posted by

We read to learn, to feel, to laugh, to understand others. We write to teach, express, communicate, to inspire others. I created Invisible Ink as an outlet of sorts, an area where I can organize the chaos; a place where hopefully I can be true to myself, and my readers. Writing is personal, it takes a brave and dedicated soul to formulate a piece and then share it with the world. That being said, I get just as much out of reading other's work as I do sharing mine ( I am always open to manuscript review swaps, just send me a message). Words read off a page evoke emotions. When taken out of context, or through an out of focus lens - anyone can mold the words, shifting their meaning to fit their agenda or distorted outlook. Staying true to form and myself, I won't censor my content, but I will censor my audience. Whatever lens you happen to be reading this through - I hope you enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Craft vs. Integrity Writing “Real” Fiction

  1. You’re soooo passionate and thoughtful. I love you with all my heart 😘 thank you for always being you!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I love to read…and the easiest from the reader’s point of view is a combination of viewpoints. First person from one of the characters, and third person from the rest seem to work the best from my point of view!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s