If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
This is Emma Coats’ Story Basic #15 – a series of literary concepts she compiled and tweeted. With number 15, I think she’s implying that readers will believe any situation you propose, within realism or fantasy, as long as your characters THINK realistically.
Well again we’re back to my own Story Basic. As writers it’s imperative that we understand human psychology. We must replicate logic, as twisted as might be, when building our characters. Their differing assumptions, beliefs and fears determine unique choices and decisions leading to actions and reactions.
As I’ve said before, molding all of your story people based on your personal assumptions makes a flat and potentially unbelievable story. You can’t apply your owe beliefs to all your characters. Well you can but then they’ll all think alike, act alike and talk alike. The result? Your readers will know you cheated. You didn’t explore enough. You didn’t respect your characters enough to give them their own identities. They were all YOU and without varied details about contrasting needs and fears, your readers have little to care about and will lose interest. They’ll sense your diminished commitment.
But no author sets out to create uni-dimensional characters. We all start from zero experience and learning to widen our attention is a maturing process. Failing to examine the whole story can be and should be forgiven as we learn how to describe our thoughts.
However, in real life as adults, telling stories that haven’t been vetted and thought out is not just bad writing – it’s irresponsible. When we’re passing off our non-researched opinions as facts and expect people to believe them, even demand that they do, there’s a name for that. It’s called bullshit.
Bluntly stated: Bullshit is the bending of truth or total fabrication delivered with the intent to deceive or manipulate. When this practice is skillfully done, it’s effective propaganda. People who convince others that their bullshit is the real thing are called Bullshit Artists. Bullshit artists shape their lies with so much confidence, they believe their own bullshit. That’s what makes them artists – their purity of vision. It all hangs together. That’s why we believe it.
When a delusional bullshit artist convinces you and me to serve his cause because his truths are the only truths, he or she is now qualified to run for public office…in a bad way.
Of course not all politicians are bullshitters – only the ones who replace your best interests with their own. Their jobs are more important than your job, your healthcare, your trusting the banking system, your children’s education, your utilities and infrastructure, your right to hear and know the truth.
Bullshitting politicians keep control as long as they make you believe you’re getting what you want, even when you’re not. When you’ve figured that out, bullshitters blame everyone else. You’ll believe them by listening to only THEIR bullshit. So it’s really important to connect with many information sources, understanding that manipulators always insist that any opinion opposing their own is bullshit.
When everyone tells you the other guy is lying and you don’t know whom to believe, the whole world seems like bullshit. That’s exactly what bullshit artists want you to think. Manipulators wear you down so you give up looking for facts, so you stop sleuthing for hidden agendas and hand over the rule making to them. That’s bad. You have lost your freedom to choose.
Still, bullshitting leaders keep insisting you’re in jeopardy and only they can save you. Their follow-only-me instructions are supposed to be your safety net but their words are hiding covert deals. The promises are bullshit and the cruelest bullshit of all instills distrust between you and me. Fear draws attention. So while the population argues about moral issues that can’t possibly become one guiding light for all, scoundrels secretly service their own wealth and power.
Bullshit needs distraction. So it makes hate and war.
Now if you’re feeling like you can’t trust ANYONE 100% you’ve got good cause. You shouldn’t. But you can get pretty close, like 99%. And the only way…and I mean the ONLY way to trust anyone or anything, (and I’ve said this many times) is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Get informed! Compare information and its sources. Consider all points-of-view. Let people talk and listen to them, even when it’s bullshit.
Yes, bullshit is bullshit, but many times you can’t tell it is. So, when listening to anyone ask yourself:
- WHY does she want me to believe that?
- HOW would my agreement benefit her personal livelihood?
- WHO and WHAT could he actually be representing?
When you’ve answered those questions you’ve plowed through the bullshit. And what do you find beneath it? The most precious treasure of all – TRUTH.
This is where it gets fuzzy. Truth is a moving target. Truth isn’t set in stone. Well it is but we all have our own stones; and as long as your truth doesn’t infringe on mine and vice versa, our stew of truths can get along. So to make that happen we all get together and decide how to accommodate and protect each other’s truths. In a perfect world, this compromise would be called a Democracy.
But Democracy can only work when everyone plays by the rules. Lying, cheating, deception and manipulation makes a bullshit government. When we no longer can agree on what is true and what is not, when we no longer recognize the difference between real facts and bullshit, we get mad, frustrated and head towards civil war.
My first draft of this post listed “good” truths and “bad” truths but that meant I would’ve been trying to write my truths on your stones. That’s not my job. I’m just the Reminder Guy. I tell you things you already know. I say things like:
- Don’t give up! With enough homework you can do it!
- Not everyone is your enemy! The whole world does not have to be the same to get along.
- Everyone goes to Heaven, even the bad guys because God does not make mistakes – only differences.
- More knowledge makes you a wiser person, parent and poet. Don’t stop learning.
- Every reason has more reasons behind it. The real reasons need to be discovered.
- Diversity is where evolution is born. Conformity kills innovation and that’s not natural.
- We all need to matter. When we don’t, bad things happen.
When I began this post I had no intention of diving into political stuff but it’s hard to avoid when exploring honesty. Obviously I’m no fan of bullshit but it’s here to stay because lies can be comforting when people believe them and there will always be people who believe them because simple bullshit solutions don’t need homework.
So considering the market for bullshit, I know there is lucrative opportunity in publishing it. How do I relate to that? Well, writing and reading bullshit is like kinky sex behind closed doors. As long as it stays there it won’t affect me. And if I jump in, it’s my business. You don’t have to join.
I’m not making kinky sex the law of the land so stop pretending deceptive rhetoric is everyone’s game. Just tell me the truth, even if it’s just yours. And then we’ll agree to share it or not. Also, I promise to tell YOU my truths. You can then share them, or not.
Originally published on Curiosityquills.com.