Upon opening Stephen King’s book ” Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, the reader stumbles upon one of King’s very first pages that holds four simple lines: “Honesty’s the best policy. – Miguel de Cervantes and Liars Prosper. – Anonymous.
Two very opposite thoughts, yet neither is wrong and both are correct. In life and in writing.
Years ago, my former mother in law told me once that I should never lie because whenever I tried ( now come on- we ALL have lied at least once ) it was obvious that I was bending the truth or not telling the truth AT ALL. Not to sound too “goody goody”, but I was never prone to lying to begin with so it didn’t surprise me to hear that I was no good at it.
However, now years later, I wonder how much being a bad liar hurts me as a writer. Certainly, honesty IS the best policy.. at least most of the time.. but lying or “spinning a tale” is one of the writer’s necessary tools, at least when it comes to writing fiction, for building his story. If making something up is considered to be a lie then writers of fiction must lie well if they want to build a story worth reading. And in the process of making something up ..or “lying well”…prospering would not be a bad thing at all!