What is this fascination with true stories? “Inspired by a true story” is NOT a unique selling point anymore! Who cares if it’s real? Certainly not me.
I want to read interesting stories, I couldn’t care less if they actually happened or not. To be honest, I prefer if they didn’t actually happen. Haven’t we got enough reality in our lives already? Don’t you want to detach yourself from the real world for the length of a movie or a book? I know I do.
I don’t want “believable” characters. I want characters who do things no actual person would do, or at least not anybody I know. I want characters who love and hate passionately, much more than any of us “real” people can comprehend. I want characters who go on such adventures and survive such disasters that none of us can even imagine. I want characters who take me on a journey, on an emotional turmoil that no actual person can live through.
And I don’t care if facts are exaggerated or even completely made up. I don’t care if no such technology or weapon or world exists. I don’t care if CSI agents are made-up to the last detail of their pretty little faces or that they are wearing heels – it’s much more pleasant to watch than a swarm of people in white overalls, don’t you think? I don’t care if there’s no such thing as vampires in the “real” world or that the Japanese didn’t actually come up with a synthetic blood substitute.
You know when your uncle caught that medium-sized fish he’s so proud of? Remember when he started telling the story how the fish was a foot long, the sea was calm and he had two other mates in the boat with him? And do you remember how from mouth to mouth, from day to day, the story grew in front of your eyes until the fish became five feet, there were giant waves and your uncle was all alone in his little boat in the middle of the storm? Which story do you like more?
Can you imagine a world without imagination? Because that’s what you are asking for if you want to read and watch “true stories”. We have so much mundane truth in our lives, why bring it in our books and films as well? Why not think of something bigger, scarier, more romantic, more unbelievable, more colourful?
There is enough of that already, some would argue. We want to experience something believable, something real! And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t, everybody is free to read, watch and listen to whatever they like, I just don’t understand it. I cannot comprehend the desire to be sucked in somebody else’s real life. Let alone the “true story” selling point.
When it’s a good story, who cares if it’s true?