BLOGGERS, OPINION PLEASE

Oneta 84

This is different from my usual fare.  I have a question.  How can I be sure fiction written in first person, is interpreted as fiction – not truth?  Some of my stories like “You Old Goat” and several other in the past (https://onetahayes.com/2018/08/13/the-threes/) have been interpreted as a real life experience of mine.  I believe good fiction must sound real.  (Aside: I wrote a piece about giving up driving one time.  I can’t find it.  But some readers expressed sorrow for me having to give up driving.)

Some of my own real life experiences are pretty far out – especially spiritual experiences.   They might not be believed if readers see me as a fiction writer.  Almost all my “challenge” posts are fiction – most, I hope, with a life lesson built in.  I’ve lived a long time and write “old” stories.  Some are true, others not.  If they are believed, I feel like a liar.

Writing third person presents no problem, even though some of them are close to my experience.

I guess I could just say, “I’m lying!” or “I’m confessing!.”   😀

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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31 Responses to BLOGGERS, OPINION PLEASE

  1. Salvageable says:

    In my latest book of short stories, I included a standard disclaimer to the effect that all the persons and situations described are fiction and any resemblance to actual persons and situations is coincidental. That’s a bit lengthy for a blog post, though. When I posted fiction on “Salvageable,” I generally said so in the title–eg.: First Friday Fiction: The Mystery of the Yellow Mustang. Maybe you want to use the title to designate fiction. I notice that you use the tag “fiction,” but I suspect hardly anyone looks at tags. I hope this helps. J.

  2. oneta hayes says:

    It helps me to know that you also feel the need to make the distinction. Perhaps at least a note in the bottom area where I acknowledge the “Challenge” I could certainly say “this fictional piece is submitted ….” Yes, that would be helpful.

  3. Yinglan says:

    The same thing happened to me a few times, too, Oneta and I love writing in the first person perspective because it allows me to dive deeper into the narrator’s mindset. Some of the sympathetic comments I get sometimes for my fiction frustrates me yet sometimes, they make me laugh. So I make it a point to put a clear note with bold letters at the top of my first-person narratives to make sure the reader knows it’s a work of fiction. If they still thinks it’s non-fiction, then I don’t know what to tell them.

    • oneta hayes says:

      You and Salvageable both recommend putting the statement at the top. For sure that would be “glaring.” But it certainly would take from the effect. Thanks, Yinglan. I think I only do that kind of writing when I can really empathize with the situation, made possible because of my relationships with my peer group. I have not had cancer, been handicapped, lost my home, spouse, etc. but I have close second-hand experience with those who have. For instance, if you write a story in first person as an old woman, we are not going to misunderstand. (At least those who read you often.) I find that I can write young male voices easier than young women even though I was once a young woman. But I endured the throes of young male-hood via raising sons and my pain in their pain was greater than my pain in my own youth.

  4. In my opinion, it is best to clarify things like that in the title, subtitle, or page collection group. In other words, if I read “You Old Goat: A Fictional Story”, I would know immediately that it isn’t real.
    I tend to read with the expectation that what I read is real or inspired by real events…unless it is something like Andy Weir’s “The Martian”.
    I would like to believe more things are possible than not possible…but maybe that is just me.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I have a hard time thinking I need to gather my children around and start off a story telling session with “now this story is not the truth” but once upon a time…. I’ve never seen a novel with this kind of subset on the title. It is generally stated on a “pre-page” somewhere. I’m considering. Your comment is helpful.

  5. I typically know what to expect from the title. For example, if I read “You Old Goat: A Fictional Tale”, I would know to expect the story is false.

  6. I love to read good fiction written in the first person. I love when it seems so real that I wonder if some, or maybe all of it, is true.

    However, if I am reading a blog post, or anything written in the first person point of view, that does not clearly state, either in the title or at the beginning that it is fiction, then I assume it is true. And if I later discover that the story was fiction, I feel let down, or cheated in a way.

    So yes, like the comments say above, I definitely prefer for it to be stated right at the beginning, in the title or in the very first line, when it is fiction.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I’m considering. 😀 Thanks for your comment. It is true that many – I think, most – blogs are “journals” of one’s own adventures, moods, their ups-and-downs, so I’m understanding, but I still feel that it defeats a writer’s purpose. But I will change something. Thanks.

  7. LOL! I love this post. You’re not “lying,” you’re a storyteller! There’s a big difference. Often there is more wisdom, truth, and power in fiction then there is in flat out reporting of an actual experience. I often think of CS Lewis whose crazy tales of talking beavers actually taught me how to really read the bible with all my senses and glean the wisdom there. We’d be lost without our storytellers!

    Good fiction is going to be believable, so the only way I know of to prevent people from thinking it’s real is to do what authors often do, post a disclaimer like, “none of these events are real and the names have been changed to protect the guilty.” 🙂

    • oneta hayes says:

      If I knew how I could use one of those little boxy things (widgets) to proclaim myself a story teller – some truth to the hilt, some imagined, some half-truth, some for just fun, and some dead serious. All my spiritual stuff is dead-serious, so I don’t want to be known as wandering off into la-la land. Thanks. Now, you, you are outrageously extravagant in your descriptions sometimes – well, most of the time, and I love you for it. If you were to say “her piercing eyes shot ten millions kitchen ants into my eye-orbs,) you would get by with it! LOL With this many suggestions for change, I will probably do so. Can’t imagine putting it in a title, however.

  8. SarahC says:

    i may be off the idea here, but people SCAN, and half-read , and some times they take All they see/read as Real, so it happens! all we can do is post like “no animals harmed, OR Names changed to protect the innocent, this is a work of FICTION; lol Good luch! 😛

    • oneta hayes says:

      Guess I’ve got to do something. 😀 I’m considering. Man, I never was too good at anything before! I’ve never experimented with lies. Good thing. I’m so good I could get into a heap of trouble!

  9. Faye says:

    I understand completely what you are saying. As a writer of Christian Fiction…..where the ethics of my stories are absolutely based on biblical precepts the people are fiction and live ‘real and believable and struggling and fallen lives’.(I do have to make this very clear in intro or bi lines or promotion etc.
    Because I called my Blogging site Passionate Creative Christian, what I blog is, through necessity, always in that concept.
    I love your writing. I love your honest pithy comments etc. I wonder if WordPress could even help you to have on the one blogging site a page for all ‘other’ writing not expressing your Christian faith. Just a thought. Yes it can become a problem if people do not read fully that it is a fiction comp or a clever little story.
    Last year I had to sort this out in a concise way. Passionate Creative Christian is life reality of Christ. I have a website called Golden Rains which is about writing…..in all forms including children’s stories which can be ‘freely downloaded.’. However on Sacred Musings.com I post only those things pertaining to the absolute ‘Holiness of our God.’. There is too much fake and misleading stuff in the media. I learnt last year if was vital to keep my VOICE as a Christian not confused by other deceptive and false things. (Someone even used my profile picture and pretended to be me and posted some quite revolting ‘stuff’,) Fortunately it was picked up and a disclaimer and investigation ensued.
    (Faye is a CHRISTIAN VOICE). Praise God!. You are, too dear Oneta, one I value highly. Indeed keep writing, keep blogging. Keep telling Biblical Truth and keep using the Fiction Gift God has given you. Maybe separate the two or three different aspects of your journey by HEADINGS if you cannot have separate pages. Hope you find a beautiful and brilliant solution. Cheers!

    • oneta hayes says:

      Wow. Thanks, Faye. I love good Christian fiction. I would hate to be jolting out of my journey with the story line by a reminder at the head of each chapter that the story is fiction. Come to think of it, even some of Jesus’ stories are subject to debate as to whether they really happened. (Parables) They all taught a lesson. I doubt that they all happened. Now I’ve opened a new can of worms!

  10. pranabaxom says:

    We say we write fiction
    While the truth lies hidden
    Between the lines
    Leaving readers to guess
    Is truth really
    Stranger than fiction
    Or fiction is really
    Well hidden truth

  11. Liveoutcrazy says:

    You know Oneta, I write about gloomy most of the times. Earlier bloggers used to spam my mail consoling me and then I had to mention in every single comment about the fiction.
    Eventually they knew that I mostly write fiction except for letter or diaries.😂😂

    • oneta hayes says:

      I do often wonder about some writers who write “gloomy” most of the time. And sometimes I respond in a way to lend encouragement. After so many comments, I do believe it is more important than I thought before. I’ll change. 😀

  12. grAnnie Roo says:

    I like to just enjoy the ride. I’ve gotten to know you well enough to recognize fiction quickly. However, I can appreciate sometimes it’s important to identify fiction from the beginning. I like including such in the subtitle. MHO. 💙

  13. Pingback: THANKS – NOW, MY CONCLUSION | Sweet aroma

  14. I get this all the time. I’ve been very clear in my bio that my writing is fiction. Obviously, whenever a reader comments on something I’ve written that resonates with them, I cannot always enter into a conversation with them. My writing is not about me. I created the characters within.

    • oneta hayes says:

      Thanks for your comment. I will try to be more thoughtful in the future, because it is important to me for my readers to know my true stories. I understand the frustration.

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