Telling the truth, particularly in writing, is not just about the facts.  It is much more about meaning, about why something really matters.

Writing in the language of honesty entails what Donald Maas, in his book Writing the Breakout Novel, calls a willingness “to draw upon our deepest selves without flinching.”  So that when we write about poverty, it’s not enough to just say, “There was little money for food. We were always hungry.”  This alone conveys a generic state that is open for interpretation by the reader—who may or may not have ever been really poor.  Rather, telling the reader that “only on the first days of the month, after Pop got paid, could we feel safe from the ever-present specter of starvation, of disappearing . . .” lets them feel for a moment the impact of abject poverty.

Dip your whole writing self into the pool of honesty.  And happy writing!

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