Truth is a main theme in my WIP, Spurn the Moon. But lately, I feel like I’ve been harping on it in my novel.
I recently wrote through my midpoint (see midpoint muddles for more on that struggle), and that was a turning point for my MC, Adrienne. It’s at this point where she goes from a passive character to a reactive character, and she’s on the hunt for truth.
Around the midpoint, Adrienne realized a lot of characters weren’t being exactly…truthful…with her. And that’s a touchy subject for her. She hates being lied to, and so when she realizes that everyone seems to have a secret that concerns her, she gets rather upset.
But how do you write truth and lies in fiction without giving the entire game away? Obviously, it depends on how much you want your reader to know. Many a novel has been written where everyone but the MC knows that someone is lying to her. But there are also a million novels where no one knows someone is lying until a dramatic reveal later on.
I have had to decide which tactic to use, and how many characters are going to be liars.
But this has gotten me thinking about the everyday lies people tell. Even though I believe I’m a truthful person, I tell lies. When I’m having a bad day, a little white lie of “fine,” is still a lie. Granted, whom does it hurt?
Everyone lies once in awhile. No one can be 100% truthful 100% of the time. And everyone probably has one big secret in their life.
So it’s not too much to pull a few strings and have those secrets coincide for Adrienne in this novel. Her mother has a secret, her romantic interest has one, her best friend is keeping a couple, and her bodyguard has one too. But then there’s also her father and her sisters, all of whom should probably have confided in her before now.
It’s understandable that Adrienne gets a little upset. Yet in order to keep conflict at a maximum, I’ve tweaked the plot so that Adrienne has to stay close to those who are hurting her. She can’t find out the truth except from them, and so that keeps her coming back for more abuse, and getting more and more frustrated by their inability to be honest with her.
But when does it become too much? How many lies does it take to drive someone away? This depends on personality, and so my current challenge is in making Adrienne’s personality believable when it comes to her tolerating being lied to. More importantly, it comes down to how badly she wants the information that only others can give. And so I am working to keep the balance of tolerance, frustration, and truth-seeking alive and believable as I write on.
So write on.
What are you working on lately? How does truth and lies come into play?