Writing Faction

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If you want to tell what you believe, write non-fiction. If you want to tell the truth, write fiction.

~ Stephen Parolini (@noveldoctor)

When I sat down to write my post for Tuesday’s blog carnival, I was planning to write a story about the strength of hurricanes. It was going to be a teaser for another story I’m writing about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

Well, the best laid plans, yada, yada…

That’s not what happened. What happened was that another story began pouring out of my mind and heart and onto the page. I wrote furiously, just trying to keep up. I don’t know where it came from, but I knew it was true. The island, the safe harbor and the people? Complete fabrications. But that doesn’t make the story any less true, metaphorically speaking.

When I set my pen down and read over what I had written, I was satisfied. I felt like I had conveyed what I was feeling without breaking the cardinal sin of writing—telling instead of showing. As I sat down to type what I had written in long hand, it occurred to me that the story could say different things to different people, depending on their life experiences and perspective. I was delighted to read the wonderful comments and have my initial thoughts confirmed.

I don’t always reply to comments, but I read and appreciate every one of them. That is especially true for Tuesday’s post. Each analogy relayed a truth that hadn’t occurred to me while I was writing it: The danger of apathy, relying on God to be our fortress in life’s storms, the power of faith and prayer, the slow erosion of our culture. Some read an environmental message, others a message of the dangers of big government and/or big corporations, while others read a more personal or spiritual one.

And they were all correct. Because my truths aren’t necessarily yours.

Sometimes we can read our own stories into someone else’s.

I love it when that happens…


Oh, and about the title? No–that’s not a typo. Faction will appear on tomorrow’s Katdishionary post. I know–it’s been awhile since my last update. Try to contain your excitement.

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10 Responses to “Writing Faction”

  1. Louise July 1, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    OK — so here’s the power of your story-telling… I thought the island was real.

    What was real was/is your ability to connect to the emotions, ideals, a message, a truth within each of us.

    that’s powerful Ms kat!
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Words- a weapon of mass destruction =-.

  2. Jason July 1, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I love when people write their stories and we see truths that are universal told in ways that don’t directly impact us as it would the characters in the story. I love it even more when I’m writing something and get surprised by the truth I discover. 🙂

    Great post Kat.
    .-= Jason´s last blog ..The Pete Wilson Challenge =-.

  3. Sherri July 1, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    I was was a great factional story.

    I saw a tired mother who gave her all….another faction.

    Love your katdishionary…will it be a book, one day? I know an awesome publicist….

  4. Sandra Heska King July 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Awesome unexplanation. And I love the novel doctor’s quote! I think I’m gonna frame it.
    .-= Sandra Heska King´s last blog ..Lessons From Basketball Camp =-.

  5. Elizabeth @claritychaos July 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    I haven’t read the piece you’re talking about yet, but I love this post. Looking forward to reading the story now…

  6. jasonS July 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    I love that too. You can write a post, tell a story, sing a song, preach a sermon, whatever–100 people could have a 100 different interpretations and applications. Creativity and imagination are such important gifts from God on the giving and receiving end. Thanks Kat!
    .-= jasonS´s last blog ..Moving Day -amp Other Excitement- =-.

  7. Maureen July 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    The best stories always carry universal truths. They tell us who we are.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..A Portrait of Milton Glaser =-.

  8. Helen July 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    I didn’t comment, but I thought a lot about that island for the last few days. I thought it was possible the island existed, but knew you were using it as a metaphor.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Strength in =-.

  9. Jake July 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    I’m adding this to my vocabulary. I love faction. I sometimes have to embellish on some of my stories to get a point across. It isn’t that common though… Like the spider one. that was entirely true 🙂
    .-= Jake´s last blog ..One Word at a Time- Strength =-.

    • katdish July 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

      Which makes the spider story that much more awesome.

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