Fiction or Not Fiction?

10 Oct

I was thinking some more about Vietnam this morning.

Four U.S. Presidents intentionally lied to the American public and to Congress, about the degree of military involvement in that war.  We, the voting public, were basically fed a pile of crap for sixteen years.

Unbelievable!  And probably more unbelievable is that we eagerly ate that pile of crap.

A couple months ago I read a book by Robert McNamara about his involvement and memories of the Vietnam War.  As you may recall, McNamara was the Secretary of Defense under two of those four Presidents. I came away from the reading of that book feeling like it was terribly self-serving, that he had somehow washed himself clean of any wrongdoing during that entire fiasco.  And I read a similar book by Henry Kissinger once, and it was amazing how lily-white he managed to paint himself.

Now those two books were labeled non-fiction, but in truth, parts of them were either a) fiction or b) bald-faced lies.

And that got me to thinking about many of the non-fiction books we read.  They are all written according to the truth as the author sees the truth, but is that actually the truth?

Just something to think about!

Which brings me to my genre of choice . . . fiction!

I love being a fiction writer.  I make a deal with my readers: I’m going to completely fabricate a story, alter reality, lie my ass off, but I promise to entertain the reader while I’m doing all that . . . and that is perfectly all right and expected.  I am expected to alter the truth with my writing, and people pay me to do so, and how great is that?

The point is this:  writers of fiction are entertainers and blowers of smoke.  It is our job to release the reader from the ugliness and vileness of reality; it is our job to give them a respite from the pressures of their lives; it is our job to suspend the known world and create an unknown world.

If we do our jobs well, readers will come away from the experience feeling satiated and fulfilled.

If we do not do our jobs well, readers will come away from the experience feeling like they voted for Richard Nixon.

Just something to think about!

Have a great day of creating!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

21 Responses to “Fiction or Not Fiction?”

  1. Janine Huldie October 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    Interesting comparison and never thought of writing this way, but still left me with so much food for thought after reading this now. Happy Tuesday and thanks for the added perspective, too 🙂

    • Billybuc October 10, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

      Welcome to my brain, Janine! It’s not an easy place to navigate sometimes, but I appreciate you stopping by and reading. Happy Tuesday my friend.

  2. Mike October 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    Hi Bill – I think a great deal of fiction is just a disguise to express the feelings of the author. From love to rage it all can flow out in the imagination. As for non-fiction, yes, it can be self serving.

    • Billybuc October 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

      Totally agree about fiction, Mike. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  3. 1authorcygnetbrown October 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    I totally agree. As you know I too watched that documentary. In my historical research, I have found a lot of times when what we know as history is actually a fabrication of those who were involved. A lot of information that we have from the Battle of Lexington and Concord came from Paul Revere who embellished a lot when telling the tale to his own children and grandchildren.

    • Billybuc October 10, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

      Exactly, Donna, a great example of what I’m trying to say here. We have a responsibility as writers to either tell the truth or entertain, and mixing the two is sometimes very difficult.

  4. Shauna L Bowling October 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

    I, too, prefer fiction as a reader. I love the escape fiction provides from the real world. Even as a little girl, I preferred fiction. It has always been my genre of choice when I read for pleasure. And that’s why I read – for pleasure!

    • Billybuc October 10, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

      Hey, Sha, good to see you. I still owe you a phone call. I haven’t forgotten…really!!!! Yes, fiction all the way for this boy.

      • Shauna L Bowling October 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

        Lots has gone on. I had a kitty in the hospital for four days; her doctor didn’t think she’d live, but she’s a fighter like her mom! I was without power for five days as the result of Hurricane Irma – brutal! The shit has been hitting my fan, but I’ve thrown it right back. 🙂

  5. Lawrence Hebb October 10, 2017 at 7:43 pm #

    Just recently I watched a programme that highlighted the Kiwi soldiers in Vietnam and some the incredible acts of bravery that never got rewarded simply because public opinion was against the war! (New Zealand sent 4,000 volunteers, Australia sent around double that)
    Back in the eighties I heard a term used by a politician (I think it was Maggie Thatcher) that the press have a habit of being ‘economical with the truth’, so much so they may as well be called fiction!
    The great thing about writing fiction, you can weave the truth into the story!
    Great post

    • Billybuc October 10, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

      Isn’t that a sadly accurate statement…economical with the truth! That really says it all, Lawrence. Thanks for sharing that.

  6. Manatita October 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

    I voted for Nixen bro. Ha ha.
    Vietnam…what a tragedy!

    • Billybuc October 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      That’s all right, Manatita…so did a lot of other people. LOL Good to hear from you, buddy!

  7. phoenix2327 October 11, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

    Give me fiction any day. At least then there’s a better than even chance that the bad guy gets what coming to him and the good guys can live happily ever after. Mostly.

    • Billybuc October 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

      Ain’t that the truth, Zulma! I love killing off the bad guys in my novels. Gives me a great feeling of accomplishment, like I’m performing a public service. LOL

  8. Sageleaf October 12, 2017 at 12:49 am #

    I really liked the way you framed this in the context of Vietnam – it’s so good to learn a little more about it. Did you ever hear about the James Frey guy with “A Million Little Pieces”? He was on Oprah about ten years ago for a smashing non-fiction read…then it turns out he fabricated parts of the story. He could have avoided the whole thing if he would have just said, “based on a true story.” lol.
    Your the hero of this real-life novel, my friend. You have inspired me so! I keep going whenever I get discouraged because of your perseverance and courage. You’re helping people to spread their wings and fly! 🙂

    • Billybuc October 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

      Awww, Lil Sis, thank you! That was so kind of you to say. I think we do the same things for each other, and isn’t that what friendship is all about?


  9. Michael Milec October 13, 2017 at 2:36 am #

    Coming to the end of this article I found two treasures you left here for me, “If we do our jobs well” … and “If we do not do our jobs well” … Both are reminders of my father’s “instruction” at very early age telling me ” if you will not do it correctly, rather do not start”. (I was about five and didn’t know what it meant until after later explanation). Soon in life I found out “imperfection” is an absurd word in human performance.

    • Billybuc October 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

      Beautifully stated, Michael my friend. “Do it correctly or don’t bother doing it!” All say the same thing, and all should be followed.

  10. Melanie October 14, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    I totally agree about non-fiction being the way the writer sees things… maybe not all of the time, but most of the time, I’d say. Especially if it comes to blog posts. I for one LOVE writing non-fiction because I get to share my experience in the hopes that it may help others. As long as it’s truthful and authentic I say! Great post as always Bill. 🙂

    • Billybuc October 15, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

      Very true, Melanie! That’s why I love doing a blog as well. I can be me and that’s not a bad person to be. 🙂 Thanks my friend.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: