We've all heard that honesty is the best policy, and I've heard a story this week that underlines that thought. Several years ago, my daughter wanted me to read this 'amazing' book that was the real story of this man's struggle with addiction, yada yada. Well, it turns out that the book was a hoax. Not real. I'm sooo glad I didn't suffer through the language to read it. (I'd tried and gave up after having to sift through too many swear words.)
This week I heard another story, similar in nature. A man, who has apparently made millions from his story and become a 'hero' to many, has been accused of lying in the book he'd written. Apparently he'd based the book on three stories from his life that have now come to light as never happened.
I'm beginning to wonder if some people are confused with the words fiction and non-fiction. Let's review. Fiction means NOT REAL - Made up, fake, fairy tale, etc. Non-Fiction means BASED ON REAL FACT, STORY or such. The information is usually heavily researched, documented and provable. One can write a non-fiction story and add items from their own life to it, but they don't write non-fiction and add imaginary items to it. The two don't mix.
There are basically two types of people. Those who, like my mother-in-law, find reading fiction a waste of time and those who think reading non-fiction is for the literary crowd. There are some who will read both (like myself) and find both equally enjoyable. However, I must point out that non-fiction has to come in small doses to me, sometimes I don't have the brain cells to absorb it as much as I'd like.
Anyway - my point is this: Be true to your medium. If you are going to write a non-fiction book, please make it provable! Don't wind up worrying if someone is going to come hunt you down and call you a fraud. It's really not worth it. While these two writers that I've used as an example made millions off their books, it all came crashing down in the end.
Kind of like the three little pigs and the big bad wolf - the media huffed and puffed and blew their houses down. Make yours out of brick. Make sure it's solid and dependable. Your readers will thank you by continuing to buy what you print. Just ask David McCullough, author extraordinare. Or perhaps Gerald Lund. Both of whom I find write amazing non-fiction.