Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Where Does Creativity End and Deception Begin?

post by Michelle Griep
Some people frown on fiction for various reasons . . .
   - It's the ugly stepsister of fact,
     clearly of lesser value.
   - It's a waste of time
     because it's not real.

And the mother of all reasons:
   - Fiction is of the devil because it's a big bunch of lies.

While it's true that fiction is for the most part "made-up" and the devil is the quintessential father of all lies, let's slow down here a bit and dissect this. But first, allow me a disclaimer.

Disclaimer: Before we digress into relativism, which is way too big of a topic for a peon like me to handle in any sane format, for the sake of today's discussion, I'm defining truth as that which is in the Bible.

Now that we've got that out of the way, here's a question for you: where do you draw the line between creativity and deception?

My answer: the author and the reader.

If a writer sets out to intentionally plant lies in a reader's brain, hiding untruths in what appears to be merely a story, then that author is purposely being deceptive. Oh sure, he's also being creative in the way he lies, but it boils down to intent. What is the writer's motivation behind the writing of a story?

Hold on there, Hoss. This doesn't mean that every time you see an exposed lie in fiction that the author drinks blood and rips off the heads of chickens. Lies can be used to spotlight truth. Don't be too hasty to judge.

I would also like to stick up for my writerly brethren and say it's highly unlikely that any author pours part of their life into a story simply to spawn lies like maggots into a reader's brain (sorry for the visual).

Ultimately, creativity ends and deception begins first when an author dresses up a lie so beautifully that the reader lusts after it, and secondly, when the reader goes after it. 

Messy business, indeed -- but rarely is deception black and white.

So, is fiction of the devil? Not any more than music or movies or any other form of entertainment. Deception begins and ends in our own evil hearts, not in words creatively typed on a page.


chappydebbie said...

Is fiction the devil? Really? It's true that with Satan's influence, some authors can write bad things. A true Christian writer knows the boundaries and sticks to them.

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