Just How Fictional is Fiction?

Fact or Fiction

“It’s Okay! I’m just joking! It’s just a fictional story, not the truth!” Really? I think I need to tell a bit of a tale here, one that comes out of the world of depth psychology, a story that involves Carl Jung. Now, when I say tale, I don’t mean a story that isn’t true. Truth is always present in what we say, write, and think. I don’t know if there really is much fiction in a fictional story.

Carl Jung was seeing a wealthy patient with issues. Jung gave the man the homework of recording his dreams, dreams which would become the central focus of each of their sessions together over an extended period of time. As is usual, the work delved deep into the psyche of his patient. With things getting too close to the core of his being, the client called an end to the psychotherapy saying that Jung was a fraud. “I never recorded a dream, so the whole thing was nothing but a farce!” claimed the wealthy man.

Ah, but they were your words whether you dreamed them up at night or in bright daylight. while you were awake,” Jung returned. “They came from you. Night dreams or lucid active imagination, the content has the same source.”

To be honest, truth is rarely literal. My father was a police officer and he taught me that lesson in reference to his work. For example, if he was to record the scene of an incident that had five witnesses, or even a dozen witnesses. When all the interviews had been recorded, there were as many different stories as there were witnesses. Where was the truth? Strangely enough, it often fell to the forensic analyst to piece together the true story.

So when I write stories that have gods and goddesses, surely this must be fiction, stories that no one in their right minds would ever mistake for a true story? Before I answer that question, I have to say that the quality of the writing makes a difference. The better the quality of the story, the harder it will be to tell truth from fiction. The depth of the characters and the complexity of relationships within a story draw a reader into the characters and plots to the point where all becomes plausible, even if on a different planet.

Gods, goddesses, werewolves, hobbits, and all sorts of fanciful beings come alive. As the readers accept these creatures and begin to identify with them, or relate to them as either friend or for, the shift from fiction to realism occurs. As an author, I’m not there yet. I have my moments but there is more that I need to learn about writing before readers mistake my stories for memoirs. But I am still young and have a few more years left in me to come closer to writing a good fictional story that will be mistaken for non-fiction.

1 thought on “Just How Fictional is Fiction?”

  1. Gods and goddesses indeed! Most of the Western populace of the world plan their lives around such a Mythology and will argue that their enity is the best. But back to the beautiful art of story telling in words. I have read most of your writings and have witnessed you wonderful metamorphosis as a writer. It is amazing that even the most revered authors suffer from self doubt and critics. So, do we write for others or do we write for ourself? To continue creating stories is a task of love of oneself. I am slowly understanding Jung by telling my stories of “fiction”.

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