Chapter 10

October 9, 2023

Matthew Dicks has outlined what he calls “The Five Permissible Lies” in storytelling. These are principles that allow storytellers to enhance their narratives without straying too far from the truth:

1. The Lie of Time Compression: This allows storytellers to condense time for the sake of brevity and pacing. It means omitting non-essential details or events to keep the story moving.

2. The Lie of Dialogue: Storytellers often recreate conversations from memory, but they may not recall exact words. The Lie of Dialogue permits them to convey the essence of a conversation without adhering strictly to verbatim speech.

3. The Lie of Composite Characters: Sometimes, multiple individuals are merged into a single character to simplify the narrative or protect privacy. This is done to streamline the story’s complexity.

4. The Lie of Simplification: It involves simplifying complex concepts or events to make them understandable to the audience. This lie is about clarity and not deception.

5. The Lie of Refinement: Storytellers may embellish details or events to make the story more engaging or emotionally resonant. While the core truth remains, this lie adds depth and drama.

These permissible lies are tools that storytellers use to craft compelling narratives while maintaining the essence of the truth. They are not intended to deceive but rather to enhance the storytelling experience.