Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LeBron and Me (a lie)

I write fiction. Which means I lie.

Last Tuesday I implied on Facebook that I had a date with LeBron James. This was untrue. I did go see the Pistons play the Cavaliers that night, but it is entirely possible, I suppose, that LeBron failed to notice me, despite the fact that our seats were, no joke, in the SAME ROOM where he was playing basketball.

A "friend" dared to imply that the idea of LeBron James taking me out on a date was preposterous.

It is preposterous. It's also a terrible lie, for a couple of reasons (warning: writing metaphor ahead):

1. I had no details. The key to a good lie is in the details. If you make the scene so vivid that people can't help but picture it in their heads, they'll believe it. The more specific the details, the better. Make them see, smell, taste, hear, and touch it.

2. I didn't commit. Don't imply: insist. If you are tentative in your lie, it'll never work. You have to throw your whole heart into it and never doubt for a minute that it will be believed.

3. It wasn't big enough. Or, it was too big. You have to find the balance between mundane and delusional. If your lie goes just slightly farther than is believable, it's more likely to work. If your story is something everyone has done or experienced, nobody's going to care if it's true or not. Make it extra-ordinary, a millimeter beyond realistic.

4. It was illogical. I mean, I am so far out of LeBron's league* it's simply not plausible that I would date him. Plus, I'm married. Your story has to stick together without gaping holes or contradictions.

5. And lastly, never fess up. Once you have people believing you, once you've drawn them into your invention, you can't betray their trust. You can't say, "Remember when I said...? Well, really, er, I meant this instead." Don't backtrack or change stories midstream. You won't only lose them on this lie, you'll lose them forever.

So, tell me. What kind of lie gets you every time?

* Even if I do lower my stock with bad "in his league" puns.

9 comments:

Jonathon Arntson said...

This post is WORTH A thousand rounds of applause! So usually, writing-metaphors pique my interest and I think, "This writer is cool and smart". Yours, though, totally topped them all. You accomplished many things: 1. You put LeBron James on my radar, I had no idea who he was. 2. You kinda convinced me that I am kind of a good writer because I lie really well on paper (horribly in person). 3. You gave me a goal: become a good liar in person and 4. come up with my own awesome writing-metaphor. Yoga. Yes, yoga is like writing...

Jonathon Arntson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cath c said...

it is a given that we writers lie. that's why we write fiction.

i enjoyed your lebron fantasy same as i tell myself that when i get a hair cut by my adorable stylist, that that is a date. it's all fantasy of course, as i very much love mi espouso, and my cute little stylist was in diapers when i was in high school, and he's engaged, too...

but a girl can dream, can't she? and now to write it into a book or story! yours could be a comic style picture book...

Dena Daw said...

This post is incredible!! I mean, you might be lying, of course. How would I know? Fantastic!
I've always had a tendency to...exaggerate, even as a small child. Like if I saw someone fall down, I always made it sound like they plunged to their death. That sounds morbid but I was totally into Christopher Pike. Anyway, to answer your question- The kind of lie that gets me every time...is the lie that comes from someone who is absolutely trustworthy. I just never see it coming.
I have gotten a lot out of this writing metaphor...thanks for the help! (And no, I'm not lying).

Kris said...

I'm a terrible liar! But, I'm a good writer (or so I say) -- so what does that tell you? I remember playing a game in school - two truths and a lie. I could never come up with a believable lie.

I love the way you relate this to writing fiction. We're weaving a story - and even if it's about space aliens coming to invade Earth to take all our iphones, it has to be believable to be a good story.

Laura Pauling said...

It's the details that get me. Every time. Like most people don't believe me when I say that Leonardo di Caprio was my boyfriend in highschool, until I tell them that...oh nevermind they don't believe me anyway.

Jacqui said...

Jonathon, writing is like yoga because some people make it look so easy but I always get tied up in knots?

cath, an active fantasy life is key to good writing, right?

Dena, thanks. I am actually a far more guilty exaggerater than straight up liar. I always say, "But it makes a better story that way!"

Kris, I love that game. But I wonder if I believe you; the hallmark of a good liar is pretending not to be :)

Laura, of course he wasn't; you were busy with Johnny Depp, yes?

Kelly said...

I am a terrible liar in person, but I hope I can lie on paper! But yes, details matter the most.

Just think, Lebron James' current FB status could be that he was the subject of Jacqui Robbin's blog post today!

captainstupendous said...

Hey, I knew that LeBron story was a lie, because at the time he was busy getting his butt kicked playing full-court one-on-one basketball against me. I won 42 million dollars in bets. IT'S TOTALLY TRUE...

Lying-wise, I think one of the things I do that every writer must is make everything more, I don't know, interesting? Lively? Is it lying to chop out the mundane, uninteresting stuff of daily life? Or to write about undead aquarium fish?