Are Social Science and Fiction Any Different?

24 May

swift-black-hole-eats-star.jpg There’s nothing I can do but offer this Greg Rucka essay up whole – OK, this part was like crack for the bullshit story-telling center of my brain.

An ignorant writer is a poor liar, and a poor liar makes for a bad crafter of fiction. If we accept that a story, no matter how grounded, is ultimately a tapestry of falsehoods, then it must follow that the author is required to tell his or her lies with as much skill as possible. As every politician and con artist will attest, nothing sells a falsehood better than a kernel of truth at its heart. Honesty at the correct moment, presented in the correct way, can buy the author an awful lot of rope with which to make the absurd seem plausible.

The way writers achieve this is through research.

Violence fascinates me, and there’s a need to keep it within the lines. It’s just that I never have been able to draw that line between authenticity and change, respect and disregard for cant. The first law of writing is, that we are ignorant of our own selves, so we need at least three dissenters to check our stupidity. That way leads to statistics and dreams.

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