The Making of A Lying Story

Yesterday on Twitter I talked about a workshop game I like called ‘Lying Manifesto’:

lying games

A couple of games for writers: Lying Manifesto, and Exquisite Corpse Manifesto, plus a bonus algorithm substitution! #digitalwir

  1. Sometimes in writing workshops I play this game called “lying manifesto”

WordPress doesn’t support embedding Storify properly (growl/gnash/convert to html), but you can read the whole thing here.

I thought it might be fun to write a short story in the same way, by writing a true story and “translating” it into lies. I wrote the original story first, really just an anecdote. That took about twenty minutes yesterday afternoon. Then I worked sentence by sentence to translate it. This morning I gave it a once-over edit to tidy up the prose.

The results are a bit strange – like an absurd fairytale, I think. You could probably back-translate the story and figure out what it’s really about. Some of the translations are direct opposites, and some lateral associations. So ‘sociopathic’ is the opposite of ‘sentimental’ – I think that’s fair – but ‘a huge raffia-work model of a semi-trailer’ is the opposite of ‘a small pair of ceramic flamingos’. Go figure.

I can’t say the outcome is something I’d want to publish in a collection, but the process was interesting and worth incorporating into my creative practice – if I’m stuck looking for a way to say something, I’ll certainly try lying about it.

I did a callout on Twitter for people to send me their own lies in the hope I could turn them into a story, but nobody was brave enough except for @CarolOmer who admitted lying to her cat. I don’t believe you’re that honest, people. I’m hoping to rile you up to a bit more collaboration/participation as the month continues, so stay tuned.

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