How can I make the reader see/suspect that a character is lying (or not telling the whole truth) without just telling them that the character has told a lie?
Oh, deception! How fun. I love deception.
That sounded weird.
1. Have things that don’t add up. Think about what your deceptive character was doing and then imagine how it might disrupt things. Maybe they said they were one place when they were actually at another. For example, if they said they were at the grocery store, but they come home with no groceries, that’s pretty suspicious. That one is a bit obvious, but there are ways to make even that sly little detail so subtle that the reader doesn’t quite notice what’s up right away.
2. Acknowledge their feelings. Think about the secret they are keeping. How does it make them feeling? If they are traitorous, are they a little jumpy, nervous about being found out? If it’s a pleasant surprise, are they bursting at the seams, excited? If it’s something tragic, is it tearing them up inside, making it hard to fake a smile? Does that show sometimes? Is there someone they normally trust that they haven’t been as open with recently?
3. Plant clues in not just how they act, but what they say. Maybe they once briefly said something that was vaguely sad/suspicious, but it was quickly breezed over, intentionally or not. Maybe something they say is not quite what it seems- maybe they are poking around, trying in a heavily veiled way to figure out what the protagonist might know or suspect. Maybe when they are recounting a certain story, they’re a little vague on the details.
Also, try to keep in mind exactly how obvious you want to make this. If you want the reader to know something the other characters don’t, i.e, that this character is being deceptive, then you can afford to openly flaunt the signs. You don’t necessary need to say “*footnote: he is lying. Liar Liar plants for hire”, but you can do little more “point-out-discrepancies”, for example, having the protagonist or others think about or openly state that they suspect something is screwy, even if they can’t place what. However, if you want the reader to be surprised, I suggest breezing over the signs quickly- move on their attention to something else, and then later, when the surprise is revealed, they can look back and see that wow, they signs were all there, but I didn’t even think about them.
Another thing to keep in mind is perspective. When stories are written in first person, the narrator has to say what they observe, which tends to make things a little more obvious for some reason. You can still be subtle by having the character either a) a little oblivious, noticing very little, or b) hypersensitive, seeing so many things, it’s hard to sort out and particular one as significant.
And be wary about how much you’re saying. You don’t need to force signs onto every other page. Let them appear naturally at moments where it’s relevant. Keep track of where the deceptive character is and what they’re doing even if it’s not going to be stated in the story- by mapping that out, you can figure out where their actions might overlap where the other characters might notice it.
Have fun being deceptive! It’s an art!*
**disclaimer: I don’t mean you people. I mean your characters. Please lead honest and good lives. Don’t play games with people!
Hiya! Someone asked me this a while ago and I had so much fun responding, and now that I've started your story, Deception, I GOTTA KNOW. What does Richonne look like in this world? I AM LIVING for both of them in this, btw!!! Thank you!
Hi there @kendrawriter! How are you? Thanks for the great question although I never have a particular visual of them but I suppose it is good to try to bring the characters to life that way. Of course, I couldn’t pinpoint a precise image as I do want a glamorized Michonne (which we just don’t see on TWD), dreadlocks and all. I’ve chosen two photos of Danai but just know she has her dreads in Deception. As for Rick, he is ex-military and although I wanted his hair a tad longer, I will settle for what I found as it does fit. Again, thanks for the awesome support. I appreciate it.
We only lie to those we’re scared of. Whether you’re scared of losing someone, how they’ll react or the consequences of your actions - we lie in these situations because we fear the outcome. Lying is a fear-based reaction and I’m all about raising my frequency by facing my fears.
Honesty is the best policy - but not always the easiest one. When you know your actions will bring certain consequences - it’s up to you to face them instead of shying away from them. You can’t outrun the universal law of cause and effect - there will always be a reaction to every action.
I used to lie - a lot - I lied about who I was, what I was interested in and what I knew. These lies were told because I was seeking validation from building a false identity - instead of being honest about who I was. These lies built in number until I forgot the truth entirely.
When we create a false reality based on lies - we are building resistance in the emotional body. This resistance can manifest in poor mental & physical health, as well as anxiety and stress. Save yourself the hassle and be honest with yourself.
Being honest with yourself takes a great deal of self-awareness and is difficult to do. One day I took a look at myself in the mirror and said “No more”. No more being scared of the consequences of being myself, no more of this fear-based attitude towards life - no more lying.
Since deciding to be honest with myself and everyone I choose to keep in my life - I’ve never felt more free. I can be 100% authentic to who I am and what I want without being scared of how others will perceive me. Honesty has liberated me from much of the anxiety I once felt - see what it can do for you.
Lying is a fear-based reaction, think about this the next time you feel the need to lie.
it makes me sad, and sick to my stomach to see people selling multiple packages of bulk “coyote fangs” or “bobcat toes” and claiming they are somehow Cruelty Free
really? you regularly find 100 dead coyotes with fully intact teeth and 100 or so dead bobcats with no signs of roadkill damage? really?
its really unfortunate when people are dishonest
I struggle to keep things in stock because my supply is actually found bones (i dont buy from breeders/fur farmers/trappers or any other source that involves killing animals purposely to use the parts).
I work so hard to be honest about how the bones i use were found and to Actually BE as Cruelty free as i can…
perhaps i shouldn’t even bother..does anyone even actually care?
[ edit : Eff that, sorry about the momentary pity party.. i know there are lots of amazing people who do care. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. sometimes i just get discouraged <3 ]
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
The following week is a quiet one save for the
meetings with Deanna, preparing for the network promotional event for the TV
show, and acquiring one of Deanna’s staff as her new PR person. She knows this has to be done but his
presence is just a reminder that things are different and Maggie’s absence is
Even more frustrating is that she has not been
successful in getting Rick to move into her bedroom with her. She wants to respect his wishes but at the
same time would rather say ‘to hell with convention’ and have him next to her
each night, all night. She misses their
short time at home in Georgia and wonders if they will ever have that level of
Of course that feeling of melancholy dissipates when
she is in his arms and his body is slamming into hers over and over again. It’s the only time she feels completely free
and content. Work used to feel rewarding
but it doesn’t feel that way lately. She
has so much to be thankful for….her parents are in her life again and she
speaks with them on a daily basis now.
Rick is by her side, proving to be someone she never even dreamed she
would find. Her career continues to be
successful….yet the one person she thought she could trust next to her parents
and Maggie betrayed her. She can’t help
dwelling on it and asking if her entire friendship with Mike was a lie. She tries to pinpoint when things
changed and why she didn’t detect it. She questions if she
did something wrong to make him treat her this way, to drive him to steal from
her father’s church, to stalk her.
She looks over to her side where Rick had fallen
asleep while reading a book, wanting to share her feelings with him but she
contributed to the madness of it all by communicating with Mike the entire
time. She can’t help wondering if he
blames her somehow. She stares off into
space, her mind twirling with thoughts of Mike’s punishment and how much involvement she’d have in the prosecution. They were in her office where she was
supposed to be reading over scripts but she can’t concentrate. She gasps when she feels his hand on her
chin. He had awakened and she didn’t
“What’s with the long face? What’s wrong?” He asks with concern.