How to write fiction

How to write fiction reading or watching news

comfortable chair near round table with newspaper and tea set
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Why to believe a little bit in news? Or why not to?

Well, maybe this entry blog’s opening will shock you. Since I believe it ain’t usual for you to distrust automatically news the way we do so in the rest of America. And by that America, I mean the rest of the continent where English is not spoken (including Brazil).

Why might it shock you? Cause you see journalists as… annoying but necessary or even useful people who pursue the truth. What about Deep Throat?  Unlike us, who know journalism goes a little into uncertain places where fiction is more plausible and probable than the truth. Or truth is not allowed.

So, I’d like to change the question to something like: Why to believe news go into fiction domain… a little?

A new black hole has been discovered…The WhatssApp developer is an Indian guy who wants to warn us about the dangers of the app becoming a payment due thing… News can be both important and relevant or simple tricky and difficult to ascertain as veritable. Or trustable.

Why? Because it is kind of impossible to have the time to chase anyone and ask them if whatever it is said, they said is true. Neither if Vanesa Paradis this or that. For one, the gorillas protecting the person will not be kind enough for you to get recklessly close to ask (probably your ass might end up a bit wounded on the asphalt if you decide to do so). And two, this business of being nosy enough to wander around public waste fillers; to corroborate if waste paper does really match the Green Peace report… It takes too much time to even try (not to say dry cleaning).

Adding to it that journalists are paid. It is their job[1] to stand on their feet for hours and hours in front of doors. Or they’re paid travel expenses (if they get the great long distance gig). That’s how we can decide to trust or not trust news according the source and the media.  

Indeed, this entry’s goal is not to discuss if the Bird app is trustworthy or not and if this or that reporter have gone wild with political attachments and fact invention. The goal is to show you why reading the news is actually any good for fiction.

How does reading or watching news help to write fiction?

Simple. News can be the spark to start the fire. You can use them as facts to give ambiance and verisimilitude to your writing.  No single story is original at all. Ideas are always born somewhere else and news are stories. No matter how trustable or not, since people believe them.

They answer the 5 w’s of stories, don’t they? Who? Where? When? Why? What and how?

Andrea Camilleri was able to squeeze a whole novel out of a single newspaper article. To be accused by anyone who hadn’t read the warning: “this is fiction” with suing as a purpose cause he had dared to write about them!  As if he only had changed names to protect those guilty of charges.

Thereby, the stuff to plagiate. If not good enough to spark any ideas, it at least comes front as learning material. So much that Arturo Pérez Reverte and Gabriel García Márquez started as journalists. Serious and honest reporters (is there any out there for sure?) have to invent a bit of what they write since not everything comes out after research. They need to theorise and imagine. Any theory put together out of verifiable data is nothing but imagination until the opposite is proven. Right? And there are more than circumstantial proves. It isn’t often that even the most zealous tik toker can film EVERYTHING. No one, unless they go on Bogota brother, has a camera following them 24/7.

No place where happenings take place is so surrounded by CCTV to record everything 360° around the thing. And automatised recording for anything parallel taking place at the same time as our event hasn’t been invented… yet. Every article or STORY has data holes, directly or indirectly.

Holes that require imagination beaten into them to apply verification to trust it as truth or to refute their ideas. Journalists need to use their imagination most of the time. The same way authors NEED TO EXERCISE THEIR IMAGINATION DAILY AND NOT JUST TO RECREATE. ALSO TO REMEMBER.

Second holding. Journalists become terrific writers in order to say more in exactly the words fitting a column. They can afford the luxury of extra pages with repetitive or useless explanations.  There’s no way their article goes out… (well, papers aren’t printed that much now) if it has dialogue iterating the already told prose. That’s why it is worthy reading them, even if inspiration doesn’t spring out of it. To see the flux and economy of their stories.

Which takes us to something really funny. In Spanish, contests require a number of pages…. Scary number of pages. In English, the scary thing is the number of words any writer can type by the thousands without actual thinking. Whilst a journalist learns to summarise. Is better less than more? Chuck Wendig says yes (writing a lot of words).

Conclusion, start by telling what’s going on in your community. It might help with your chronological order and flux if you haven’t started to write yet. And if you already have, it will help with your descriptions.

Like, subscribe, share. Pasto kalo (be happy).

[1] A kind of writer whom could easily be included in fiction weaving.

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