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fiction vs reality

Posted: Oct 07, 2014 10:48 am
by coyotebrewer
Hello Everyone, My first time, so be nice! I have a question regarding fiction vs reality. I am writing a SP based on a personal experience. I am wondering how far I should take the dramatic into the realm of fiction. I want this to be a true story but I am struggling with making the script more interesting to the viewer. At what point, have I crossed the line???

Re: fiction vs reality

Posted: Oct 07, 2014 3:19 pm
by Chris Huntley
I think you first need to figure out if this is supposed to be Fiction or Non-fiction. That sounds obvious, but the minute you choose fiction you are only limited by what you feel is necessary to capture the "truth" of the narrative.

It's easier to base a fiction on non-fiction and keep the verisimilitude of "truth" by editing out the parts of history that are not relevant to your story. What is relevant or not has a lot to do with how familiar your subject is to your expected audience. The greater the familiarity, the less wiggle room you have. BUT, audiences understand that a fiction is not reality, but only BASED on real people and events.

Dramatically speaking, fiction works better if you satisfy the needs of the narrative first and foremost, even if you have to fabricate events or characters to fill in the narrative gaps. For example, in Frost/Nixon there is a scene where Nixon phones Frost after hours and has the "you and I are alike" conversation with Frost. It is an essential scene because it provides the necessary insight into Nixon's motivations and their respectful adversarial relationship. It sets up the reasoning behind Nixon's full candor with Frost in the next days' interview...and the scene is a complete fabrication of the author's mind. Who cares? The audience doesn't care (assuming they were even aware it was created whole cloth) because it satisfied a dramatic need in the narrative and pays off emotionally in the following scene.