Your Fiction May Be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Not Being Honest

Your Fiction May Be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Not Being Honest

Writers talk a lot about “being honest,” “being vulnerable,” “pouring ourselves into our writing,” and “not being self-conscious” in our writing. But what does all that really mean? And how can flunking any of the above be the reason your fiction may be failing?

What Is Honest Fiction?

Let’s begin by asking the obvious question: What is honest fiction? What does that even mean?

It’s a buzzword, sure. But all that means is that it has essentially become a cliché. Often, clichés have deep meanings that everyone fails to see simply because we’re so used to not looking past the surface.

Honest Fiction Is…

1. Truthful Fiction

Nobel Prize-winning author Albert Camus famously said,

Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.

Good fiction is always going to be true fiction. Honesty in fiction begins by presenting premises, situations, reactions, and ramifications that are true not only in the sense that the necessary facts are correct, but also true in a way that resonates with the universal reality of morality. This has nothing to do with the character making prescribed “right” choices and everything to do with presenting the effects and costs of those choices with authenticity and candor.

Mario Puzo’s Godfather is one of the most time-honored examples of this.

Godfather Al Pacino Christening

The Godfather (1972), Paramount Pictures.

2. Fiction That Has Nothing to Do With Personal Convictions

There’s a Chinese proverb that says,

There are three truths. Your truth, my truth, and the truth.

Honesty in fiction is never about presenting your truth. It’s about presenting the truth by first being true to your characters’ truths. This means that if your story has you putting words into the mouth of someone whose principles and convictions are antithetical to your own, you must still be able to present that character’s ideals in a completely authentic way.

Do you hate your bad guy? If so, you’re not doing a good job of writing him. To write characters well, to write them honestly, we must be able to put ourselves into their skins and brains and understand them so completely–even in their objective reprehensibility–that we can love them even as we love ourselves. This absolutely doesn’t mean you have to agree with him or condone his actions. But it does mean you have to step away from the subjectivity of your own personal pulpit and instead try to write from his subjective perspective.

This is something romantic-suspense author Kristen Heitzmann always does masterfully in the vignettes told from her antagonists’ POVs.

Kristen Heitzmann Halos Edge of Recall Breath of Dawn

3. Personal Fiction

You know how you’re always being told to “write what you know”? That line of advice isn’t talking about writing stories based only on your life experiences. All “write what you know” really means is “be honest.”

This is where all those encouragements to fight through your fears and “be vulnerable” in your writing come into play. Why? Because being honest in your fiction means digging down into the core of yourself and finding the part of you that understands and resonates with sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes downright scary stuff.

Being honest and vulnerable doesn’t mean you have to tell all your deepest, darkest secrets. It doesn’t mean you have tell everyone about the time you went sleepwalking in your underwear. But it does mean that when you write about your characters experiencing any kind of emotion–whether it’s a “good” or a “bad” emotion–you have to be able to dig down within yourself and tap into that embarrassment–or whatever–that you felt and use it to convey your character’s similar experience without censorship.

This is one of the chief things I appreciate in the Bourne stories, which always show the emotional fallout from Bourne’s actions and decisions.

Matt Damon Julia Stiles Jason Bourne Nicky Parsons Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Universal Pictures.

Signs You’re Not Being Honest in Your Fiction

When most of us hear the admonitions to write “honest fiction,” we all nod our heads emphatically: “Yup. That is so important. I totally believe in being honest in my fiction.”

I, for one, nod my head. I’m emphatic. But if I’m really being sincere with myself, I have to admit that writing honest fiction is way harder than just pinning on the Honesty Merit Badge. It’s not something we accomplish just because we believe in it. Honesty in fiction is ridiculously hard work. It only happens when we’re actively thinking about it and consciously pursuing it with every word we write.

Part of the reason this is so tricky is that honesty in fiction isn’t always the most expedient way to serve the plot, have fun, or entertain readers. In an October 2015 inteview with The Writer, playwright and screenwriter Donald Margulies notes that sometimes we can unintentionally create a jarring note within the honesty of our work simply by adding scenes, lines of dialogue, or jokes that are at odds with the honesty of the piece but which we have a hard time deleting because they give us “a personal kind of pleasure.” In other words: we’re not killing our darlings.  He says:

The thing that I absolutely live by is you have to tell the truth. I know that sounds very simplistic. But I think that … if you’re enjoying yourself too much and if you’re intruding too much on a character or the voice of a character, [or] if you find that you’re stepping back from that character and that situation and you’re commenting on it–you’re not doing your job. You need to be as true and as empathic to that moment as possible. You can’t be at a remove.

What Honesty in Fiction Feels Like

I want to be honest in my fiction, but I admit it: most of the time, I just write. The character is doing something or saying something and I’m just letting the words pour out without necessarily pausing to check how honest they are.

Dreamlander (Amazon affiliate link)

But every once in a while, a scene comes along that demands I dig a little deeper. One of those scenes, irrevocably burned into my memory, is the Midpoint battle scene in my portal fantasy Dreamlander. A critique partner had told me the early versions of this scene just weren’t cutting it. They were too surface, too bland, too ordinary. I needed to dig deeper.

Instead of starting to write right away, I sat there for a few moments and thought. This was a scene in which my protagonist was entering a full-scale battle for the first time. His reaction to this experience was not, in itself, crucial to the story, but realistically, this was a life-changing event. It wasn’t honest of me to allow him to breeze through the experience without his undergoing some massive reactions.

I asked myself, “If I were the one riding into this battle, what would I be feeling?” The result was one of the best scenes I’ve ever written. My editor loved it, my critique partners loved it. It’s the scene, more than any other, that is always mentioned specifically in reviews. I dug deep, I was honest–and it resonated with readers.

Plot whisperer Martha Alderson tweeted recently,

My surface reaction to that battle scene in Dreamlander was to write the stock action-hero stuff, where the character is tough and awesome and nothing fazes him. The authentic truth was that he would be overwhelmed by the sensory stimuli to the point that he would be almost at a remove from it–as if he were an observer of his own actions.

I think about that scene often–not because it turned out so great, but rather because it remains a reminder and a challenge to me to always go that extra mile, dig a little deeper, and look beyond the easy surface clichés to find the honest emotional truth at the heart of all my scenes. If you’re ever worried your fiction may be failing, challenge yourself to search out the truth–big or small–in every scene you write.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What do you think it is the hardest part of being honest in your fiction? Tell me in the comments!

Your Fiction May Be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Not Being Honest

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. This is a great post, Katie.
    In my novels I rarely have an antagonist who becomes the protagonist’s direct and daily nemesis – how many of us in real life do? But occasionally I have an antagonist who must be dispatched by the end of the novel. When we are writing from deep POV, perhaps the most difficult part of writing is to show the motivation of the antagonist.
    My trick is to allow the antagonist to present his own argument in his own words in dialogue. It doesn’t dig deep, but it does show the enemy’s side, exposing the reason behind danger to the protagonist.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Indeed. This really is the trick of deep POV, and it’s the reason so many authors choose to include the antagonist’s POV. I’m rarely a fan of antagonist POVs–especially when the character is villainous–so I always appreciate it when an author can go that extra mile and portray even a protagonist’s enemy as a very human character from within the limits of the POV.

  2. The problem, like the one you described is one of being able to crawl inside the person( I don’t use characters) Sometimes it’s easy, but in the case of Dreamlander you had to change genders. You had to become a man involved in life or death struggles. All he sees is his immediate world and vanquishing the next foe. Only when the battle is over can you/ the character reflect on and realize the change if any that was made. A battle scene is to men as an intense love scene is to a woman. She is in the moment. The best analogy I can think of is a cat preparing for a fight. When I write about my Chief of Police, I can taste his cigars.

    • Louis, you nailed it. Retrospect is where our characters feel the deepest. In action, especially battle action, there is only action.
      Even there I have read fiction where, in the middle of hard battle, every buckle, every twitch of a horse’s ears is described, every muscle used to heft a sword.
      ‘Truth’, it seems to me, is part of ALL parts of writing fiction.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      For the most part, I think the idea of writing opposite genders and different races isn’t as difficult as we sometimes like to think. We’re all humans at our core, and although there are always unique aspects to be aware of, it’s that humanness and the uniqueness of the person *himself* that is most important. Happily, it’s also the part that’s most accessible.

      • I absolutely agree. I recently read Douglas Kennedy’s novel, where the MC is a woman. I was amazed at how real she felt, how effortlessly he seemed to paint her. And then I realized that the empathy happened because he stressed things about her that made her universally human, things that anyone can understand. Sometimes, authors just try too hard when writing about opposite gender, which gives clichéd males obsessed with sex or brainless chicks that live for shopping. It’s just annoying.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Truth. The only time I’ve *ever* read a male character written by a woman or a female character written by a man and thought, Pfft! This is horrible. is when the characters themselves are poorly realized. It has *nothing* to do with the gender of the author who is writing them.

  3. From my point of view, the hardest part about being honest as a writer is knowing , or figuring out, what the truth really is for some of the characters.

    • Paul, the way I see it ~
      One interesting approach to the ‘truth’ for some of the characters is to start with their motivation. If we can see where they’re coming from, we can imagine their truth. I keep a journal for all transient ideas because I know they can so easily slip from my mind. Often I record long dialogues in the journal for later use – though I may or may not incorporate them into the story. Mostly I try to remember that each character has his/her own agenda which is often at cross-purposes with the protagonist – which of course is ideal for the creation of both outright and subtle conflict. Often I am aware that the conflict itself exposes each character’s personal truth.
      All of this leads to unimagined and unplanned layers to the story, and my major problem in the revision process is to simplify simplify simplify.
      I do like to keep it clear (not simple-minded) for the unknown reader.

      • Lynn…thank you so much for your thoughtful response :)…..the story I am working on is based upon a true story ( from when I worked in Montreal as a college student ) a young girl turned down a significant scholarship to instead give her time to writing…..hope to have the first draft all done by year’s end…….her’s was quite a story ……thanks again for your thoughts and best of luck with your own projects 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I agree. That is the trickiest part. I admittedly struggle with antagonists. I have a hard time fitting myself into the mindset that allow them to do the things they do. It’s something I challenge myself on with every story I write.

  4. Ay yi yi….that’s a can of worms! I think I have a problem knowing just how honest to be in some instances. Usually these are in scenes that are pivotal–like the battle scene in Dreamlander you mentioned–and I worry just how far I can reasonably go. I wrote one of these scenes late last week, and I’m wondering if I took the scene too far and if I’ll offend people. But then again, I’ve never claimed to be a clean writer…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      There are certain choices we make when establishing an audience, and we violate them at our own risk. But especially when you’re starting out, you get to make those rules up as you go. If the story demands a certain amount of realism, go for it. It’s always important to be aware of effect of gratuitiousness–with any element–but don’t let your fears of other people’s thoughts be the only thing holding you back from what you’re trying to say.

    • Sean M. Price says


      I think you can go as far down the rabbit hole as needed in service to theme and plot. However, gratuitous depictions (e.g. hardcore sex or violence) that do not later affect the characters AND shape the plot should be removed. Fictional realism without meaning is meaningless.

  5. I’m never sure if I ever hit that true gut reaction of the heroic character when getting into a huge scene. I usually think there is more to it, something else going on.

  6. thomas h cullen says

    Dealing with the contrast. Relative to objective reality, incorporating the four young adults shouldn’t have been any problem whatsoever, but it was a hurdle because of my “mind’s comprehension” that it was “illogical”.

    Like for example, would JC Brandy (an actress, in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers) be referenced on BBC’s Question Time? She could be, but would she be?
    This is what a lot of the issue boils down to.. the mind’s comprehension of what it is that’s logical, and what it is that isn’t logical.

    “Squatter”, “Striker” and “Deserter” were also hurdles (exciting ones though, to be sure); beyond the obvious dynamic of screwing with the establishment, there did occur the “question of moral fallacy”.. Croyan may well be the story’s protagonist, but does that mean that the incorporation of these political categorizations is a valid thing to do? (After all, none of these terms uniquely apply to Krenok!)

    In ensuing time, I came to judge it this way: to hell with real-life validity, and to hell with my own evaluation – Croyan deserves this reality! (After all: how often is it that people actually get to “change a world”)

    I told nothing but truth, and so between July 2013 and now, I’ve experienced by and large nothing but consequence for it.. after almost two years, “still” no standard industry recognition and treatment!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Eh, industry recognition is overrated. If you’ve told the truth, that is, in so many ways, its own reward.

  7. At this moment I’m rewriting a scene I first did a year ago. When I originally envisioned the scene, I wanted the MC to commit to his love interest. They’ve been together for a week, but as they’re cousins they haven’t gathered the courage to tell their folks yet.

    As I’m going over it now, I’m keeping in my the action and reactions and MRUs, as well as the ‘showing and not telling.’

    They’re at the county fair, having split off from her siblings, when he takes her hand, holding it in public for the first time. She asks, “Are you sure?” and he responds with a little speech about how he wants to be her boyfriend, and then it’s like “OK” and the story moves on. Blech!

    With you reminding me of ‘being true’, and knowing her main issue is insecurity (as her mother has been through a string of men) and seeing the setting is a half hour from home – now I know that her response should be more along the lines of, “You want to hold my hand here, where no one knows us?” Instead of resolving the scene, he has to react, and the plot bunnies flourish.

  8. Fantastic topic. It is near and dear to my heart. I talk a lot about it on my blog, (shameless plug).

    The most difficult thing about “being honest” is a worry that my friends and family might judge me for what I write. I don’t air dirty laundry or write about personal stuff but still. I worry about people taking my fiction out of context and try to connect my personal stuff with it. For example, I write about a fictional relationship and my wife tries to connect it with one of my past relationships. Ergo I am thinking about my ex. It can be tough to explain to them, that is not how writing fiction works.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, this is definitely one of the dangers of the writing life. It’s very hard for someone who’s not a writer to understand that the truly personal truths in our work are almost always those *under* the surface.

      • Rachel Thompson says

        I think an author should not be found inside what he or she wrote. If me the author is seen inside my fiction I failed the reader, be it friend or foe.

  9. K.M., thank you so much for this post which echoes my struggle for the past few years. I couldn’t figure out WHY my character acted the way he did, but I knew that’s the way he WAS. When I started digging into his background, going all the way back to his childhood, I discovered WHY he was the way he was in my current novel. (And — digging produced another novel that can either stand alone or act as a prequel! Hot dog for digging!)

    Digging deep really forces us to look into why we’re actually writing. How is what we write going to help or hinder our readers? (Given the fact that we all read to learn, no matter if we have the pretense of simply pleasure reading.) Digging takes a long time sometimes, but the results are smooth and very rewarding — much like a concrete professional pouring a new sidewalk or a patio. The beauty of words shines bold when they’re bannered in truth.

    Thanks again!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I read–as I’m sure most of us do–many authors whose worldview I disagree with. And yet I still learn from their stories because of the honesty that they’re presenting–even if I’m perhaps drawing different conclusions about it. Honesty is what makes literature meaningful. It’s what makes storytelling the most powerful form of human communication.

  10. Really great post K.M 🙂 I love your words here “…being honest in your fiction means digging down into the core of yourself and finding the part of you that understands and resonates with sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing, sometimes downright scary stuff.” So true. Digging deep into your own experiences does help to write better fiction.

    … and telling those deep truths is the hardest part for me when I’m writing fiction.
    Still learning to bring authentic truth into my stories…

    thanks for your great tips 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s hard for all of us. Even when honesty isn’t painful, it *is* hard work–and we have put ourselves in a special mindset to get that done every day. But the effort is always worth it!

  11. K.M… This strikes me as the most important instruction I’ve ever heard. And I’m taking it to heart. Many thanks. ~ PJ

  12. I love what you said about the villains. A novel I read a while back spent too much time in the POV of the villain. I say it was too much time because the author wrote the villain as extremely childish and I never got the impression that this was a real person versus a caricature. It made me re-examine all of my own scenes from my villains’ POV just to be sure they don’t come across that way.

    I have a rule that I never show a villain’s POV until I can find the thread of their motives that would humanize them to me as well as the reader. In D&D terms, I allow no POV character to be Chaotic Evil — they’re not evil just because, they’re not violent just because, they don’t kick puppies just because. Only demons are allowed to be Chaotic Evil 🙂 But even the demons have to have a goal they’re reaching for, and the goal has to make sense for them.

    I find it helps to give the villains a virtue or two that they’ve put in the service of “the dark side.” It’s one thing that keeps me from making them cartoonish.

    • When we write a *villain* into our fiction, we must never lose sight of one fact: the villain doesn’t see himself as bad. Referring back to my earlier comment, every character is driven by his/her personal agenda.
      A villain doesn’t function in a vacuum, but rather he functions in exactly the same way as the hero. He sees every action as justified. The difference is only in their opposing angles of approach.
      Therefore I question the villainy of the villain’s intentions.
      I don’t think it’s important for a writer to plumb the depths of the villain to the same extent as for the hero, but I do think it’s important to recognise the villain’s personal truth, and reveal it in some small way along the course of the story. This will add extra dimensions to the story.
      Does this make sense?

      • Perfectly so. In my story, the heroes are fighting to save the status quo — it’s a good one. But to the villains, the status quo seems unjust, and they want to change it. It’s their methods that are villainous. They’re starting from the premise that they’re fighting a tyrannical regime (it’s not, but they perceive it that way), and the things they do make sense in that light.

        I’ve just finished writing several chapters that show what’s motivating them, and I hope I’ve written them well enough that a reader would say, “Yeah, I could see how they would feel that way.”

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Something interesting I’ve realized here recently is that the villainous characters with whom I’m really able to get into their heads and empathize with–I subconsciously don’t consider them “bad guys.” I’m currently writing an extremely evil character who started out as a contagonist. I feel like he’s one of the best characters I’ve ever written, but he’s not the “bad guy” of the story. He’s a human being with his own (admittedly twisted) rational and mindset–and I think that approach has made all the difference in my ability to write him honestly.

    • Sean M. Price says


      Consider modeling villains on the mindsets and personalities of sociopaths and psychopaths. Thomas Harris did an excellent job of this for the Jame Gumb character in Silence of the Lambs.

      • Oh yes, the psychopath 🙂 I hadn’t thought of applying that paradigm but it would make sense. I like the Hare Test, a test Dr. Robert Hare came up with that describes a list of traits that “anti-social personalities” have in greater abundance than normal people. It rings true. I’ve studied cults as well, in an attempt to figure out how they rope in people.

        I think one key to cult leaders is that they fill a deep, primal need of their followers. That’s one thing I try to keep in mind, any “evil mastermind” has to be offering something that a normal person would want, and they have to have appealing surface traits.

        Successful serial killers like Ted Bundy depend on their charms and outward trustworthiness. If he were a twirling mustache villain, he wouldn’t have gotten so far. Good framework. Thanks Sean.

  13. Frank Booker says

    You’re so right about needing to like your bad characters. As an actor, I know to love the character I’m playing. We all, good or bad, try to be good at what we do, and we believe we’re right.. If I cannot love my evil doer, I have no business writing about him or her. Even serial killers love themselves. Or if they hate their deeds, that makes writing about this complex relationship within them a worthy endeavor, requiring brutal honesty. Of course it’s hard to do. But that makes it challenging, and opens the way to greatness in the expression of the character.

    On another note, I wonder that more writers of action adventure stuff don’t get more into PTSD. Jason Bourne is a notable exception, but many knights and adventurers seem to sail through these experiences unscathed. I’m thinking about one of my favorite characters, Jamie Fraser, in the Outlander, who is also haunted by the terrible experiences he has endured.

    • I have a protagonist whom I carry through a series of four historical novels, following his career and personal life from 1912 to 1947. Serving in two world wars, he begins having PTSD soon after killing his first enemy, hand-too-hand (Actually he is on horse and the Russian officer is on foot). His dreams persist and grow through the rest of his career.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I find PTSD-ridden characters endlessly compelling. But I think one of the main reasons we see so little of it is that it gets the way of the plot. That was one of the reasons I soft-soaped my original battle scene iteration in Dreamlander: the story wasn’t *about* the character’s personal reaction to war and I was afraid it would get lead me down an unnecessary rabbit trail. I still avoided obvious PTSD references, but of course the story ended up being much better *for* facing the hard truths of the character’s experiences.

      • Frank Booker says

        If plot springs from character, then plot must be part of the character’s motivation. I don’t understand how it gets in the way of plot. It is plot.

        Thanks for all you do for writers.

      • I recently added a subplot thread that touches on this. The MC was about to do something very ethically objectionable when he has a traumatic flashback which is one of the main reasons he stops and reconsiders his motives. I don’t explain the vision right away, but several chapters later his motives are challenged and he breaks down and tells the story and how it affects him.

  14. David Pouilloux says

    Dear KM (??), your blog is one of my best discovery on the web (in my life ?). Your are just brillant and clear, even for a french guy. Thanks a lot for your beautiful work. So many french writers should read what you write…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Ah, French. That makes me happy. 🙂 I’m actually in the process of learning French right now. Such a beautiful language. I look forward to the day when I’m not mangling it dreadfully!

  15. I think there is some pleasure that I take, a sense of enjoyment or relish, when I find a worthy opponent to my hero, and she is required to grow as a character because of the conflict. In that sense, I think I understand what you meant by the word “love” when you wrote about the bad guy: “…[E]ven in their objective reprehensibility–that we can love them even as we love ourselves.”

    In The Fountainhead, it would be hard for me to think that Ayn Rand had much affection for the staunch socialist Ellsworth Toohey or the waffling Peter Keating, but I do think she took great delight in composing those characters in contrast to the granite Howard Roark. In that sense, I think your “love them as we love ourselves” is true because these characters serve the theme of a story, and as writers this gives us pleasure to advance the theme/premise.

    At first your phrase “love them” sounded off, but I sensed as I read it was more prudent to allow you to define your own terms by the overall tenor of your article. Much enjoyed.

    Be true. A healthy reminder. Thank you.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Exactly. There is a certain love we have for ourselves even when we know we’ve failed to measure up, even when we’re disappointed in or even ashamed of ourselves. That’s the kind of love I’m talking about having for our non-lovable characters–an empathy born of putting ourselves into their skins.

  16. This posting hit me hard, perhaps that is what is wrong with the newest chapter. It felt like something was off , but I just couldn’t pin point it. I need to go re-read it again while thinking about what you’ve said here.


    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      The gut knows! Go back and dig a little deeper on that chapter, and I bet you’ll find something really special.

  17. I based my character Amelia off of myself and added ny friend Vance in and Amelia’s cousin Sam is based off of my cousin, Alex. I haven’t written in any romance, since I don’t think I’m ready for it, let alone interested in it, but if two characters were going to get together, it would probably be Vance and Amelia.

  18. Is there such thing as being too honest, you think? Often, people read to escape reality, so if fiction is ironically more real than life itself, will this deter readers?

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Only in the sense of being too “on the nose” and shoving a truth in readers faces, instead of letting the story exhibit it naturally. Otherwise, no, there is no such thing as too much honesty.

  19. Once, a great author – member of The Brazilian Academy of Letters – wrote me personally the best advice I have ever received. He – who has already passed away – said me: “You indeed wrote a good book, because every good book is full os inner truth.” Ivan Junqueira. INNER THRUTH. In 2 words, that’s all.

  20. Thank you, for explaining this. I had never understood this until now.


  1. […] M. Weiland aka Helping Writers Become Authors, is a fantastic resource. Her recent article, “Your Fiction May Be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Note Being Honest,” is a wonderful article about finding the emotional truth in your writing. Another article she […]

  2. […] Your Fiction May be Failing for One Simple Reason: You’re Not Being Honest (K.M. Weiland) – “Do you hate your bad guy? If so, you’re not doing a good job of writing him. To write characters well, to write them honestly, we must be able to put ourselves into their skins and brains and understand them so completely–even in their objective reprehensibility–that we can love them even as we love ourselves. This absolutely doesn’t mean you have to agree with him or condone his actions. But it does mean you have to step away from the subjectivity of your own personal pulpit and instead try to write from his subjective perspective.” […]

  3. […] all “know” we’re supposed to be honest in our fiction, but what does that really mean? K.M. […]

  4. […] Honesty in fiction is never about presenting a “real-world” truth or staying to what’s factual. […]

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