We all lie. Whether we think we do or not. According to some of the fascinating studies I’ve read before writing this post, most of us lie many times a day without even realising it. One study estimated that we tell two to three lies every ten minutes. We lie about small things and big things, we lie to spare the feelings of others or to spare our own. We lie to get ourselves out of trouble or to save others from trouble. We embelish stories, we leave awkward details out. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of porkies a day. Imagine how many we tell in our lifetimes. Many of them will never be found out.
But what if you’re a writer of fiction? People lie to us even more. My family and friends almost certainly lie when they hand back a manuscript with the words ‘It was good.’ and a look of abject terror that I’ll break down into unhinged sobbing as I figure out they didn’t like it at all. Writers of fiction lie too, every time we switch on the laptop or pick up a pen and construct a sentence. We lie for fun. We create whole worlds full of fabricated events and people that don’t exist, we use every tool at our disposal to convince you that we’re showing you truth, or at least make you believe us for a little while. We do it knowingly and with intent to manipulate. We tell you that we’re going to lie to you before we dish out our big, juicy platter of whoppers. Are we forgiven? Because lovely little lies are what makes the world go around.