Friday, October 14, 2011


Are we all liars?

Our local crime writers’ association, Capital Crime Writers, is having an event filled day of mystery on Sat., Oct. 22, at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library -- A Day to Kill. If you’re within driving distance of the city, it’s well worth putting on your calendar. It kicks off at 9 a.m. with coffee, then at 9:30 the panels, readings, and signings kick-off. There will even be raffles and book selling.

A highlight of the day will be the workshop given by Mary Jane Maffini on Character Building. And the best part – it’s all free and open to mystery writers, buffs & the general public. Some of the top names on the Ottawa and surrounding areas scene will be present so it’s a good way to schmooze, too.

Now what’s got me thinking about how we fictionalize what we write, is the panel I’m on called, "Meet the Fibbers". I’ve attended them at conferences and they can be hysterical. The premise is, the panelists each tell a story or two, and the audience has to guess if it’s true. Or, are they liars?

So, we’re taught not to tell a fib. But then we learn that little white lies might be okay in certain circumstances, like if your best friend asks what you think of her new dress – a small lie to save the friendship? Go for it! There’s also the ‘stretching of the truth’ to your boss when you clock in late – car wouldn’t start, bad traffic jam, car-jacked. It can, and does, get out of hand.

Next thing you know, you’re writing fiction. There’s probably a kernel of truth – something about you or from your past, or all that research that's really true – that works it’s way into the plot but the rest is all lies…or fiction, if you prefer. Which can lead to other fibs – like when your neighbour says she thinks she recognizes herself in your book – as the glam yet smart side-kick. The dialogue bubble above your head reads, “Oh, puh-leeze – you’re the drab, introverted psycho-killer.

Some of us even lie about our identity. I’m Linda…uh, no that’s Erika to you. And all in the name of fiction.

So, creatively speaking, it should be a good panel on Sat., Oct. 22. Except, I’m not sure if I’ll be pleased you think I’m telling the truth…or lying.

Lies are fiction, after all. And it’s what we get paid (so to speak) for.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April 3, 2012
From Berkley Prime Crime (all true!)


  1. Last year's event was terrific! I'm advising everyone in the writing class I'm in this fall to go. Won't be able to myself, since I'm heading off to Surrey for SIWC this year. I do wish there wasn't a date conflict, but so it goes.

  2. I will definately put this event in my calendar!! Thanks for posting it.

    I had to laugh a few times at the irony of many things you said because it is so true.

    Thanks for this...


  3. Linda - or is that Erika? - as the moderator of this panel, even I don't know if you are lying or telling the truth. Or is it something in between? - Vicki Delany here because for some reason I can never post a comment to this blog under my name. Now is that true? Or not?