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The Truth We Find in Fiction

By E. J. StrangePublished 3 years ago 7 min read

“Hi! How can I help you?” I ask, bracing myself to mirror the person in front of me in order to react with whatever is needed. I slip into a mask and reflect what I believe is desired. I wear so many different masks every day: I am a lion, asserting and defending. I am a doe, capitulating and caring. I am an owl, wise and leery. I am a fox, sly and conniving. I am a monkey, silly and carefree. Yes, I am, I am, I am... but I am never me.

No matter what, I am what I think the person needs me to be, what I think will get me to the goal, which is a reflection of that person; never me. It is easy to get lost behind my masks. Sometimes, I like wearing them. They become me. They are becoming on me. I like the attention I get using them. I like the reactions reflected back to me; and, sometimes, the positive feelings make me forget that that is not really me. I find that writing helps me remember who I am in a sugar-coated sort of way.

The thing is, I do not always want to accept what is really me. Reality is hard for me to accept, especially when I want so much more. Reality is hard for me to give, especially when I want to proffer more than the shit I have to offer. Reality is hard to write, especially when I feel there could be another truth.

I am terrified of exposure. I am terrified of hurting someone with my reality. I don’t want to force what is real for me upon someone. And yet. Oh, and yet! I want to be understood, and I want to help others understand. Writing is that intermediary between my fear and my need to stand up for something.

Fiction novels, for me, are a disguise for the truth. They wear a mask of romance, adventure, and mystery to slowly massage in the ugly bits and highlight how we ignore and hide from our realities. I understand masks and prefer them myself. For this reason, I like to write fiction because it aligns with my indirect nature. It capsulates the truths I choose to believe and acts as a perfect delivery system to the masses. I am not a direct person, and I fear so much, but I want to make changes on things that will ruffle feathers.

I feel like people can find meaning and relate to a riveting story easier than they can hear the truth. I know for myself I am not mistrusting of any piece of fiction I read. How can I? The story is not real. I do not harden my heart and find the flaws in a story I am drawn to. In fact, I am so off guard in a good piece of fiction that I let it change my mind; and, by the way, I am a stubborn, bitter person, so changing my mind is a cumbersome process. However, books I had to read in school like “To Kill a Mockingbird” were eye opening and more relatable than anything I read in my history lessons. There is a reason the language arts are not dropped from the schools’ curriculum. Fiction carries truth bombs that can rock anyone’s core beliefs and shifts their understanding within a few hundred pages.

Many times, I have read a book that has touched my heart and played with my emotions to a point that I had to reflect on myself as a person. I have changed whole perspectives on things I thought I had already grasped in life. I want to do that for other people. I want them to see what I see in a way that does not feel like an assault. I want my readers to go on a journey with me and be the heroes that they want to be. I want to give people that “aha!” moment where they can say, “I get it now!”

I am not new to writing. However, I am new to writing with the intent for people to read it. I have just begun to dip my toes into producing content. Most of what I have written has been for challenges and therefore has not been the fictional pieces I wish to engage my audience in. I am working on that page by page, slowly building them into chapters. In the meantime, I want to write shorter parable-like stories that follow along with the motifs of my novel.

I have written and scrapped and rewritten and plotted long into the nights. I even write sometimes when I am supposed to be working, ignoring customers' demands as I pretend to compose important emails. I truly have gotten to the point that I want to share, and I want to have a positive, meaningful impact within my community. This means I have to get readers, and for someone who is a novice to this, the question for me has always been how?

The internet is our new college, and the google searches have long become my highway to knowledge. It can still be confusing, though, to navigate how to go about highlighting my work and putting it in front of the right audience. I have started to work harder at my social media. I had taken it for granted; until recently, I used social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram solely to scroll through memes. I have begun to shift my views on social media and networking. I now think of it as a tool and the bases for a marketing platform.

What helps is having something to share. When I am writing, yes, I can go on Facebook and tell my friends, “Yes! I am 50 pages up on this novel.” How is anyone going to stay excited on page counts, though? Maybe they will a little, but every good drug dealer knows tastes and teasers are how you get people hooked and I want everyone hooked on my slice of fiction. One of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon, did such a thing. She published just a taste of her novel, unfinished as it was, in the CompuServe literary forums, and she now has nine successful books in a series and serval riveting side pieces.

There is one novel that I have worked on more than any of my others. It is the one I tinker with the most and the one I am must reluctant to put out there until its finished, because it's my baby. However, when my favorite book alludes me, I shift to other novel ideas that have popped into my head. I want to share these segments chapter by chapter in a weekly subscription.

You are probably asking, “why do I want the inferior product?” Well for me it is a litmus test. A writer is like a cook: each dish is different, but somehow a note of familiarity carries over. I am not educated in writing, and sometimes I can be a delusional person in general. I need to know if my characters are relatable and if I am actually conveying what I believe is relevant. I took an online course once on the art of storytelling and I remember one of the people telling a story about how she had invested so much in a character's development only to find she hated her heroine and had to scrap her book. I would hate to have a meaningful moment squelched by a reader’s annoyance over a faulty character. It is hard to grow with someone you can’t stand or relate to, right?

I have been very blessed in finding Vocal. I have found the platforms allows me to write these pieces that offer a hook for my audience. I can track the stats on who is reading what, and I can even get likes, letting me know hey, someone is into this! I know then I am on the right track, and my writing has not confused or lost people.

I also love that the Memberful Vocal challenge has presented yet another opportunity and platform to me. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in a sea of promises and platforms. Yes, they may be great but might not be something that I can use to bolster what I am working towards, so when something like this presents itself, I must think, how could I use this? Well, for me Memberful is a perfect opportunity to spread out and get some of those chapters and short stories out into the world. It would give me the organization and the platform to market a weekly story to viewers.

To put everything I said simply, I want to author a book. I want to evolve and build my way up to this wonderful novel through platforms like Vocal and Memberful. I am going to do this by publishing and posting my fiction on these sites regularly, so that I can hone my skills and give everyone a little taste of what I can be.


About the Creator

E. J. Strange

I am new to the writing community but hope to publish a novel one day. I am simple minded and sucker for romance.

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