Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---
Just a reminder to us all that the fiction in fiction is metaphor-- not of the word variety (hope is the thing with feathers) particularly, but still "slant". Fiction is not just the retelling of something that could have happened, but rather a metaphor for truth. There should be a metaphoric "slant" to a story. If you just want to send a message, write a bumper sticker. If you want the reader to experience the process of creating meaning, write a story.
Example: In Hitchcock's Rear Window, the James Stewart character is a photographer. He looks at the world through a camera lens. This is a metaphor for the experience of filmmaking (one of Hitchcock's preoccupations), but also of sexual voyeurism. And as in order to watch his neighbor's sexual encounters, he has to ignore Grace Kelly (in fab de la Renta's dresses!), it's also a metaphor for the fear of commitment. Now of course the "camera lens" isn't just a metaphor-- it's an integral part of the plot (the longer lens lets him see the activities that convince him there's been a murder). But it's the metaphorical aspect that transforms this from just a tale to an actual story.
Think about your own story. What is going to make it more than just a retelling of events? What's the underlying metaphor that connects this to something human or something universal?
I'm thinking about the story I just started. I think that it's not just about the heroine's secrets or the murder, but about choosing to live again after grief. So I should think of a central metaphor that represents that grief. Maybe it's loss-- she loses her purse and loses all her money, and that starts everything going, that loss. I don't know exactly, but I'm going to keep out a watch for some central metaphor which adds that fictional layer.