In this world it's impossible not to experience the explosion of sensationalism offered via every medium available to humankind. Whether it's the failing newspapers, various magazines, internet, television, radio, cinema, or name-your-poison, we see, hear, and emotionally feel the touch of graphic crisis-mode deliveries of both truth and lies. With the continual use of sensationalism, people eventually grow immune to its impact and tend to ignore the seriousness of the revelation because of the incessant shrillness of the message.
So what does this mean to novelists? Do we need to use this methodology to deliver our stories? Is it at least a partially viable approach for some genres such as thrillers, supernatural suspense, or fantasy novels?
We all receive and interpret information in similar yet different ways. Some of us "hear" information better, others of us need to "see" information, and still others of us need to have the hands-on approach to best understand what's being presented. We know the value of using the senses in telling stories. Give the readers a visual, a scent, a feeling, and if we do it well, we've roped them into the ring of our stories.
This is why the burden of truth-telling in story form remains critical and rests solely on the tips of the author's fingers. If an author portrays a real place without having any genuine knowledge of it, or if he writes of an occupation or an experience without understanding either, readers can recognize the lack of familiarity and deem it irresponsible and unreal. If in the fantasy genre, the other-world depiction comes off as insufficient or cliché or even too mind-bending to coax investment and believability, the truth factor absenteeism renders the work frivolous or uninspired.
Even though some writers refer to fiction as telling "lies", the burden of truth is the author's purpose. Good stories illustrate truth with a vibrant awareness of how people, places, and things interact and display innate qualities of both good and evil. The simplest or most complex tales portray how truth is sought, ignored, or demanded. Conclusions render true or false deductions, often dependent on the reader's decisions.
Without truth as the cornerstone of writing stories we read words on a page. They may be pretty and elegant, clever and humorous, literary or pulp, but they either tell the truth or they lie. It's the author's choice, but the burden of truth rests upon his heart and erupts from the desire to write it.
Lord, your word tells us that we will be set free in the Truth. Please grant me the skill and beauty to reveal it in my stories. Thank you for who you are. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.