From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Difference Between Fiction and Lies

So, among other things, I'm pointing a little bit at Da Vinci Code here. See, it was a super fun story, very well researched and plotted. Not super well written, but that's another point. The problem I have is when Brown claims in the beginning that all the cult evidence and art clues are totally legit, when of course they're not. That all the clues mean what he's saying they mean. So is that just part of his fiction, or is he crossing some line?

This happens a lot in movies and documentaries too. People trying to pass off something as true. There's the other extreme, too, where people say reading any fiction is just a waste of time, because it isn't true. In my opinion, both sides have it wrong.

Trying to pass of fiction as "true" is just dumb. I mean, people find out. What, really, is the point? Its almost condescending, an insult to the readers intelligence. The real reason this subject came up is that I watched a movie with my roommates last night that did this very thing, and after we did some scant researched and figured out it was all fake, one roommate said it was just a waste of two hours. I guess they do it so that the story will have more impact. But in good fiction, we are being totally honest with ourselves and our understanding of human nature, and to me that is Truth with a capital T. That's why the people who say fiction is pointless are wrong. Their minds are closed to the reality that there are some Truths we learn better through fiction than anything else. That's how I see it, at least. I hope I'm making sense.

Lying is taking a story and trying to pass it off as truth. Fiction is an attempt at using story to reach Truth.

What do you think?

Sarah Allen


  1. I have to agree with you. However, I did enjoy reading the Da Vinci Code. But there are some people who see it as truth.

  2. 'Lying is taking a story and trying to pass it off as truth. Fiction is an attempt at using story to reach Truth.' I think this should be in libaries and bookstores everywhere so people don't get confused.

  3. Dan Brown took it too far. Honestly, though, I'm not sure that he doesn't believe it himself.

    I would point to Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera as the right way to use the same technique.

  4. I basically agree with you.

    There is a fine line between lying and fiction. In both cases you know what you are doing is not true but with lying you insist/believe what you are writing/saying is true.

    Personally I am Catholic but I enjoyed reading the DaVinci Code. It was a fun fiction. If anyone reads anything housed in fiction and believes it as truth, I do question their intelligence.

    Fiction pushes limits and questions reality. It is a good starting point for your own imagination and to start doing research for the truth. It is in no way a waste of time. Most inventions and current social conventions began as fiction. They didn't exist until a person took the time to search for making it reality and truth after being prompted by a piece of fiction.

  5. It reminds me of Luke and Obi-Wan in Return of the Jedi when Obi-Wan tells Luke that what he said was true, from a certain point of view.

    If I remember my Da Vinci code history channel show correctly, most of the stuff he used for research was stuff a couple of guys put together to create a conspiracy. They created the false claims and books, Dan Brown used them and treated them as being real.

    So it is all based on real events, from a certain point of view.

  6. This is what the phrase 'based on a true story' was invented for :-)

  7. Too far, I agree. I assume he was either pushing an agenda or trying to stir up trouble, which we all knows sells books.

  8. reminds me of something Stephen King said - fiction is the truth inside the lie.

    Very cool post. Very cool thought.

  9. I think there's a third category: when fiction says "this is all true" but the reader knows that the statement is a device. Phantom of the Opera, Turn of the Screw and Dracula all do this very well--the reader knows the events can't really be true because they involve the supernatural, but it adds depth and dimension to the horror.

    Lots of paranormal movies do this as well. Now that I think about it, maybe this is a characteristic of gothic novels. Wish I'd thought of it back when I was taking that class!


  10. I don't think Da Vinci code would qualify as a book: it's too poorly written, too many puzzles at too regular intervals, too much action( the excitement starts at page 2 and goes straight to the end). Then there's the clues on the cover, the codes.
    I'm not insulting it. I don't think it's a book; it's an awesome product that it designed to make money and so far there's nothing like it. It might qualify as almost a machine, or a program.


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