Fiction tells a fictional story. Something made up. Pretend.

Non-fiction is true, or at least true to the best of your ability and beliefs.

They are not the same.

I read something over at Paperback Writer today (you get to ask questions on Fridays) where someone asked a question about the level of language (obscenity is what they meant) that ‘should’ be in a novel. I thought the example was humorous, something to the effect that a demon wouldn’t be saying “oh shucks”.

And I was laughing at this with the spouse, which led me to today’s post.

Because certain segments of the writing population (notably Christian fiction writers) really stress about what they write and if they should write a certain thing or not, or if they should only write what’s PC for the current [fill in their group] public.

My take on this is that if the character would say it or do it then you should write it. If your character is an angry gay pedophile who beats his wife, then write it. If your character smokes, drinks, and swears like a sailor, then let her smoke and drink and swear. If your character is a serial killer who’s into bondage, then write him as he is, not as someone else thinks you “should” write him.

(characterizations taken from three of my novels, if you hadn’t guessed)

Write what you want to.

It’s fiction, folks. If they didn’t teach you the difference between real (non-fiction) and pretend (fiction) in kindergarten then they should have.