August 23, 2011

Oh! What a Tangled Web We Weave...

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." — Mark Twain

I've been repeating this advice to The Boy for years, without knowing the quote's source. It just seems to me that telling the truth is the easiest path to take. Something happened, I can tell what happened. Done.

Lying is a skill I have not been able to master in my life. If questioned, I look guilty even if I am innocent.

I do this nervous smile thing, and then it is assumed that I'm lying.

I got in more trouble as a kid than I should have, due to my inability to look innocent. 

I don't think The Boy ever looks innocent...and he lies often. I need to improve on my lie detection abilities.

Besides parental lie detection, I have an ulterior motive here with truth and lies.

I'm writing a story, which I hope becomes an actual book. My main character is a ne'er do well, a cad, and a liar. He has criminal tendencies...and criminal intent.

It's a 'who done it', if you will, and I've been trying to figure out how to get a few of my characters to be better liars.

I especially interested in having the ne'er do well be able to lie convincingly to the authorities.

I found a bit of help today.

Check this out. It is an analysis of a Facebook post about the disappearance of Kyron Horman, the little boy who has been missing for more than a year.

I never knew that how one writes a statement can indicate lying - that using passive voice, or not telling a story in chronological order, can indicate that the writer is not being completely truthful. The analysis is fascinating to me.

Also, I had read something about eye position and lying, but couldn't remember where I read or heard it - and then, I found this. I can use this information to describe how my character is glancing about the room while he is speaking. I can leave "clues" that he may be lying.

When I'm all done here, I hope to have a realistic story - and maybe learn to be a helluva liar at the same time.

Another quote from Mark Twain:

The wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others' advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly, frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of our high calling."
— Mark Twain (On the Decay of the Art of Lying)

May all my future lies be for noble causes.


  1. Yes, how one writes a statement can indicate lying, in a fairly reliable fashion. The cues are both similar and different from speaking.

    And I love the Mark Twain quote.

    May you be noble in your lies!

  2. yay! You go girl. I knew you had a book in there. I'm looking you straight in the eye.

  3. I can not wait until your book is published. For sure you are going to have to autograph a copy for me.

  4. I'm loving that you are working hard on a novel. And I suppose you have a lot of raw material from the Boy to work with too!

  5. When my children were very young, I told them I could tell when they were lying because their ears wiggled. So, they usually looked toward their ears when they were fibbing... I know. I'm a horrible mother... but, I needed every advantage 'cause little kids are like lawyers and can split a hair ten ways... have fun with the book and keep us posted. Now, I'm off to read about the 'lying' by writing.


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!