Two Truths and a Lie

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Lily King wrote an essay (titled That Would Make a Good Novel) that offers an illuminating look at how the germ of idea can be developed, eventually, into a work of art.

And there’s a bonus! She includes a writing exercise she gives to her students:

When I teach fiction I often start a workshop with one of my favorite exercises called Two Truths and a Lie. I tell my students to write the first paragraph of a short story. The first sentence of the paragraph must be true (My sister has brown hair.), the second sentence must be true (Her name is Lisa.), but the third sentence must be a lie (Yesterday she went to prison.). What I forgot when conceiving of this book is that it’s the lie that brings the story to life, makes it hum. The lie is the steering wheel, the gearshift and the engine. The lie takes your two true sentences and makes a left turn off road and straight into the woods. It slams the story into fifth gear and guns it.

Any tip that helps you “slam a story into fifth gear and gun it” seems like a good one to try.

Two Truths and a Lie

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