Fear in Writing: Stranger than fiction...

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stranger than fiction...

So an alien walks into a Russian MP's apartment...

Sounds like a bad joke, right?  Unfortunately, one government official is taking it seriously.  Russian parliamentarian Andre Lebedev has asked for an official inquiry after regional governor Kirsan Ilyumzhinov went public with claims that he had previously been in contact with extraterrestrials, even visiting their spaceship. 

Lebedev's concern?  Whether Ilyumzhinov shared any state secrets with ET.

This story is a couple of months old now, but I've had so many other subjects to post, it got pushed farther and farther down in the list.

So here is the writing-related question...Do you ever find yourself struggling to write something stranger than real life? 

There is a place for reality in fiction, to be sure.  But too much truth can make the work ring...well, untrue.  And then you come across stories like this one and you think, No one would believe that if I wrote it!

So where do you draw the line drawing from life?  And how do you write fiction more interesting than reality?


  1. Michele - That's a very interesting question, because for me, it touches on just how realistic fiction has to be. I tend to be quite realistic when I write. I'm fascinated by what happens when ordinary people are forced into extraordinary circumstances, like a murder and its investigation. So I don't do a lot of "suspend your disbelief" stuff. But I admire people who do that well. Isaac Asimov did...

  2. Hm... I like my reality to be real, but at the same time I tend to write with a slight supernatural twist, so then I can play with my flights of fancy!

  3. That is really odd.
    Since I'm allready writing science fiction, with a world and race completely fictional, I try to keep the rest fairly real.

  4. Oh my, now there's a question! My life is full of stranger than fiction stuff, I have to tone my writing down because of it.

    If I was Russian, I would be slightly concerned about my government officials, wouldn't you?

  5. I love speculative fiction, but it has to be believable within its own story. If the story breaks its own rules, then I probably won't finish it.

  6. Margot- But there is a certain way we have to treat "real" events in fiction. I realize I can't completely translate something that happened in my life into my writing...It just wouldn't come across the same way. Maybe it's something too subtle to be able to write correctly here...

    Jayne- What fun would it be if we only wrote our lives? Mine certainly isn't interesting enough!

    Alex- It is an odd story, and I immediately thought of you when I read it. I'd imagine you have to find a fine balance between reality and out of this world when writing SciFi, even more than the rest of us.

    Ann- That's interesting that you tone down your writing for all the strange stuff...And I agree about the Russians!

    Jemi- Believable, but with an expectation the audience will be willing to suspend their disbelief.

  7. That's a good question. I guess the key is to make sure that what you write, no matter how outlandish it is, sounds plausible.