Truth and Lies

One of the most interesting aspects for me of this process has been the researching of the Central Intelligence Agency. We all enjoy learning something about the operation of an outfit like that because, well, it’s secret. There’s the thrill of feeling you are somewhere you are not meant to be. Over the years, I’ve walked along the uniquely bizarre terrain of CIA and learned a whole new lexicon of jargon such as “traces”, “dry cleaning”, “sheepdipping”, and “backstopping”.

The problem with researching an outfit like the CIA is that, well, you’ve guessed it – it’s secret. Information about it is pretty thin on the ground for members of the public. But I’ve learned that it is out there, you just need to scrape it from many different sources. In many ways, researching a novel works like the process of intelligence gathering employed by the CIA itself.

Intelligence analysis seeks to unveil truth; so too should good fiction writing. It should aim to give the impression of reality and the truth behind it, but augmented in order to entertain the reader, without ever letting the sense of reality slip.

However, as much as the CIA seeks to unveil truth, it also seeks to conceal and obfuscate the inconvenient truths that warrant protection about itself and its Homeland.

In that gap of knowledge, between truth and lies, imagination roams, and (hopefully) entertainment thrives.

Add comment March 27th, 2008


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