Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve been waiting anxiously for the weekend and not because I’m going out. I’m still sick, my entire household is sick, I started a longer-term freelance job this week on top of other projects, I’ve had to do a lot for school, and I’m just exhausted. I’d say I’m going to use the weekend to rest but, really, I’m going to be catching up on work I’ve let fall to the wayside. Despite all these time restraints, I was able to come up with a writing prompt for this week: two truths and a lie.
In truth, two truths and a lie isn’t a writing prompt by nature. It’s a game, usually used as an icebreaker in classrooms, at conferences or workshops, etc. It’s still fun and I think that writers, particularly fiction writers, could learn something from it.
In this game, you have to tell to two truths about yourself and a lie. The trick is that the lie has to be so good that it’s almost indistinguishable from the truths. The other people playing the game then try and guess which of your statements is actually a lie.
Here’s why I think fiction writers could benefit from this game/exercise: we are, in essence, telling lies when we write fiction. Even if we base our work on something or someone we know or that actually existed (ex. historic fiction), we embellish quite a bit. In order to be good fiction writers, we have to be able to tell these “lies” convincingly. Even though readers know (or at least assume) that what they’re reading is fiction, they have to feel as though it can happen. Even fantasy, science fiction, and horror have to be convincing enough that the events seem plausible for the world that you have created.
Two truths and a lie helps strengthen this writing skill. If you can fool other players, you’ll be that much better at getting your readers to suspend disbelief.
Obviously you’ll have to play this game with others. That’s the only way to know if your lie is convincing. So, for this exercise, gather up some friends, family, co-workers, fellow writers, and play. The better the players know you, the bigger the challenge and the more your skills will be sharpened.
You can even leave your two truths and a lie in the comments below for people to guess, or on the Facebook group that accompanies The Writer’s Scrap Bin page, The Cork Board.
Do you have any ideas for writing prompts? Leave them in the comments or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have them featured in a future Friday Fun-Day post.