Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

So, You Say It’s Fiction; But, Are All The Facts Straight?

Sure, the word “fiction” comes from roots that mean “to knead, form out of clay” or “invent” but, unless you’re writing fantastic-fiction that happens in an alternate universe, you need to invent based on certain given qualities; and, the clay of truth must be kneaded carefully

The novel I published last year (free in the left side-bar) is based on over 20 years of searching for Truth.

In order to present that Truth, I had to invent a civilization 12 light-years from earth

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”

Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

And, to nail down my main point even more firmly, Margaret Frances Culkin Banning, best-selling American author of thirty-six novels and an early advocate of women’s rights said, “Fiction is not a dream. nor is it guesswork. It is imagining based on facts, and the facts must be accurate or the work of imagining will not stand up.”

So, many authors spend huge amounts of time doing research to assure themselves they’re building their fictional castle on solid sands.


What if the people writing the material being researched lied?

What if a writer publishes a story then finds out the “truth” elements came from a work involved in an academic scandal?

I got an email today from a gentleman at that led me to the article The 10 Biggest Research Scandals in Academic History.

Reading it could educate you about the necessity of deeply checking and rechecking your sources

While I was visiting the site, I also found an article called The 20 Essential LinkedIn Groups for Aspiring Writers.

I wonder if those groups on LinkedIn could help a writer who’s deeply checking and rechecking sources………
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com


12 responses to “So, You Say It’s Fiction; But, Are All The Facts Straight?

  1. Jane Watson June 4, 2012 at 7:05 am

    How extraordinary! I thought LinkedIn was only for corporate business folks… I had no idea writers could use it too!! So I read the wrong research somewhere …lol. ~Truth is also like the grit in the oyster which fiction layers with imaginings into a pearl. I have no idea who said that (or something similar) but I have always liked it :)


  2. Alexander M Zoltai June 4, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I may have found the quote—in a Stephen King paper:

    “It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters.”

    Is that it??


  3. Jane Watson June 4, 2012 at 7:53 am

    That could be it.. or a variation on it…Stephen seems to be making a great comment there on doing something authentic rather than forming a committee to talk about doing it…I guess he is talking about writing as an authentic individual process…:)


  4. Alexander M Zoltai June 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Yes, “…authentic individual process…”…

    Now, I’m really going out the door :-)


  5. Barbara Blackcinder June 4, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Great Blog, and another great ‘Link’ as well. Thanks again Alex.


  6. martinaseveckepohlen June 4, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg had to give up his position as German Minister of Defence in 2011 when the University of Bayreuth found he had taken entire passages from other authors, some from the scientific service of the Bundestag, with no attribution. The German journalist and author Günter Walraff used to work under false identities for several big companies and a tabloid paper (BILD), later, sometimes during his stay there he published articles and books about workig conditions and ethics. His books were huge bestsellers and he became one of the best hated men of the 1970s and 1980s.


  7. Simone Benedict June 4, 2012 at 9:16 am

    That’s a great quote by Mr King! And your post is a delight for many reasons. As far as the link for writers’ groups, I see one described as ‘a group that encourages shameless self-promotion’.


  8. Alexander M Zoltai June 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

    You are Very welcome, Barb :-)


  9. Alexander M Zoltai June 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Wow, Martina, thanks for the additional Scandals!!


  10. Alexander M Zoltai June 4, 2012 at 11:00 am

    So, Simone, you gonna join that group?


  11. Simone Benedict June 4, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Um, I’m not really a joiner as you may know Alexander. As I remember King gave a pyramid of writers. It was something about bad writers, competent writers, really good writers and genius writers. For myself, I think I’ll try to work with that wise advice before I launch into a lot of shameless self-promotion. :-)


  12. Alexander M Zoltai June 4, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Impeccable Answer, Simone :-)


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