Monday Challenge: That’s What She Said

Yup.

I’m putting words in someone’s mouth. Again.

Just another part of the job, along with making floor plans for places that don’t exist and getting on a government watch list with every Google search. Writing fiction is telling someone else’s story in our words. Ever wonder how much of it we get right? Or, more interestingly, how much of it we get wrong?

Readers of Stephen King’s novella collection Different Seasons will remember this motto: “It is the tale, not he who tells it.” But the teller has their part to play as well. After all, what is Nabokov’s Lolita without its fundamentally untrustworthy narrator? And I bet Vader had a different take on the lava fight than Obi-Wan.* There’s more than one side to every story, certainly, but there’s also the difference between the events as they happened and the story that is told.

Hell, we don’t even have to go that far afield. You mom probably tells the stories of your youth differently than you do. How often have you interrupted a friend who was attempting to tell a story of which you are a part? That’s not how it happened, you say. Let me tell it.Here’s how it really went…

And who’s right?

Hard to say, without a memory machine. And even then, things are open to interpretation. Which is part of the fun.

Monday Challenge, should you choose to accept it: write a character telling someone else’s story. How well do they do it? Do they get it right? Do they even try? Are they trying to make themselves look good at someone else’s expense? Or are they just doing the best they can?

*Did anyone else find that part super fucking weird? “Oh hey, you’re terribly injured and in a lot of pain. Think I’ll leave you here to die slowly. And I’m the good guy!”

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6 thoughts on “Monday Challenge: That’s What She Said

      • Well, speaking as a trained aerospace engineer, little of the technology or techno-babble in the entire series will hold up to even casual scrutiny — so I am willing to let the medical tech slide. But character motivation issues… I’d never put my finger on why that scene disturbed me, but your friend nailed it.

          • Oh, it passes muster. As fantasy. Just as long as we all understand that “science” and “the Force” are synonyms for “magic”, Star Wars is wonderful stuff. Lucas’ real genius is that most of the time, he can keep a film moving so fast and engagingly that on first viewing, one doesn’t have time to notice egregious errors, internal inconsistancies, and plot holes you could drive a Constellation-class starship through.

            Most of the time. Can’t blame Anakin for being a trifle cynical after Obi-wan walks away, tho.

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